Knowledge is never liberal – Muhammad Hashim Suleiman

A girl reads verses from the Koran at a local Koranic school on the second day of the holy month of Ramadan in Nigeria's northern city of Kano July 21, 2012. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: RELIGION EDUCATION) - RTR35684

To my little knowledge about knowledge, I come to understand that knowledge comes with its normative strings. Source of knowledge infuse some below the radar outliers to the knowledge it gives. Care free students of knowledge that accept hook and sinker, what their knowledge gives them are bound to imbibe those ideological underpinnings of their knowledge source.

For instance, studies about petroleum deposits come in majorly two postulations: biotic and abiotic reasoning. While the former is actively promoted by Western scholars, particularly those from America and Western Europe, the latter is actively promoted by scholars from Russia and Eastern Europe. The two scientific schools of thought are more often than not diametrically opposed to each other. Yet, none has cancelled the other in terms of exploiting petroleum deposits.

In essence, seeking for knowledge and knowledge production practices are not universal in approach and are mostly based on cultural cum socio-economic determinants of the knowledge source base. Strong African approach to knowledge production and acquisition have shown that neocolonial interests prefer Africans to engage only in acquiring technical based knowledge (s). To them and their apologestia, acquiring knowledge of governance, sociology, economics, archeology and other social knowledge by Africans should be discouraged.

That, is in itself a long term plan from the Orientalist and Egyptologist schools of thought. Schools that came to Africa with arms, stole our indigenous knowledge artefacts and ship them back to their well funded schools of “African Studies.” Isn’t it a pointer that the ones asking you not to go for degrees in humanities and social sciences are still the ones spending homoungous amount of money to study your culture through the same disciplines of social sciences and humanities?

Two things still come to my mind about the subtle ideology of knowledge acquisition and production. The first was a report by the RAND think-tank organization titled “Civil Democratic Islam: partners, resources, and strategies.” I urge you all to download that material, read it and see the plan of how people among you should be chosen and given scholarships, trained and released back to you in other to cause academic and religious confusion. The second was a conference I attended at University of Ibadan on Toyin Falola, African methodologies and Africanisation of knowledge production. I urge you all to access proceedings of that conference and see how more than 20+ universities are coming together to domisticate knowledge production in Africa through appropriate understanding of African history, African economics, African politics, African archeology, etc.

Globally, there is strong scholarly acceptance that knowledge acquisition and production isn’t value neutral. So, any call for jettisoning of one knowledge over the other is nothing other than the long marching order given to those among us that were trained to come back and confuse us the more.


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