06 April 2016

Does it help to be African to study Africa?

For sure there is tacit local knowledge, but how you define “local” matters. Ken Opalo writes:

"As a social scientist, my knowledge of Kenya is largely informed by my experience as a Nairobian. Over the years I have had to learn a lot about the rest of Kenya, in much the same way an Australian would. In doing so I incurred a lower cost than a hypothetical Australian would, for sure, but the cost was not zero. And who is to say that I would necessarily be able to articulate a research agenda on whatever subject in Malawi better than a Southern Californian? What proportion of Kenyans can locate Bangui on a map?"