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ABSTRACT. In the center of the issues about knowledge production and its circulation in Africa are the following critical questions: How does an African society learn things? What does it learn? And what does it do with the learned information? An attempt to dialectically reply to these questions leads us to discuss the issue about the quest for transformation of society from the dynamics of research and the power of knowledge. A reflection on the processes and mechanisms through which knowledge is produced in Africa is not a technical and linear exercise. Various issues related to the conceptualization of what knowledge production entails in contemporary Africa are raised as well as epistemological foundation of definitions, conceptualization and consumption of this knowledge are also examined. Furthermore, other vital questions of knowledge production for whom and for what are also analyzed within the intent of continuously searching for new paradigms as necessary in the struggles for social transformation in Africa. There is no single method, discipline or approach through which knowledge can be produced universally or internationally and be used to either transform a given society or to maintain its status quo. Knowledge production has specific actors, consumers and institutions, and the processes of knowledge production are essentially social and political. The producers have their interests, just as the consumers have theirs. By and large, this paper is a generalized critical reflection on knowledge production in Africa within the existing political systems or regimes, with a special attention being paid to the question of epistemology and research for social transformation. My claims and arguments are contextualized by the imperatives of contemporary African politics, which are synthesized in the policies and practices of colonial Africa, those of post-colonial Africa, of neoliberal globalism, and the agendas that emerged out the social struggles. pp. 60–71

Keywords: African universities; African indigenous systems; knowledge production; multiculturalism; neoliberal globalization; social transformation

TUKUMBI LUMUMBA-KASONGO
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Cornell University

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