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Welcome to Intellectual Heritage Project

The Intellectual Heritage Project (IHP) of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology arose out of the concerns with the crises of epistemic dependence and the dearth of “exemplary ideas” in the theorising, practice, and pedagogy of the social sciences in South Africa.

 

 Intellectual Heritage Project

 

The Intellectual Heritage Project (IHP) of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology arose out of the concerns with the crises of epistemic dependence and the dearth of “exemplary ideas” in the theorising, practice, and pedagogy of the social sciences in South Africa. An important dimension of this is the erasure of the works of leading (South) African scholars from much of the South African social science curriculum and intellectual discourses. The IHP is concerned with displacing epistemic dependence: a shift from being consumer to producers of works of epistemic significance. Central to this are three distinct efforts. The first involves the promotion of “self-knowledge” among a new generation of (South) African social scientists (and sociologists specifically). The “self”, as a collective self, involves familiarity and intimacy with the scholarship and works of intellectual progenitors and heritage. This requires the “excavation” and valorisation of the works of leading (South) African scholars that are peripheral or absent from the prevailing discourses and curricula. The second effort, arising from this, is teasing out important and seminal ideas from such works for animating social science research, debates, and teaching. The third effort involves epistemic engagement with local ontological narratives and the feasibility of their serving as source-codes for doing social science in contemporary (South) African context. An overriding principle of the Intellectual Heritage Project is that social science practice is committed to and grounded in its locales. It takes its (ethnographic) data as the basis for generating new knowledge of epistemic significance.

There are two research projects currently being explored under the IHP. The first is the NRFfunded “Endogeneity and Modern Sociology in South Africa” project concerned with exploring the sociological contributions of Bernard Magubane, Ruth First, Archie Mafeje, and Fatima Meer.The second is a CODESRIA-funded project exploring the scholarship of Thandika Mkandawire, especially in the field of Development Studies and Social Policy. The NRF-funded project involves working with a cohort of Doctoral and Master’s degree candidates. Jimi Adesina is the principal investigator on the two projects together with Olajide Oloyede who is exploring the reflexive in Mafeje’s Scholarship.

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