Abstract: Although there have been extensive discussions on decolonizing the field of media and communication(s), not much attention has been paid to the way that curricula reproduce colonialism, imperialism and racism in the classroom. In this essay, I draw on my experiences as an African graduate student in an American classroom to highlight the ways that systemic racism is replicated, reproduced and frames pedagogy. I argue that although many communication(s) scholars purport to theorize from a radical perspective, these politics are not represented in their pedagogy which means that students from the most marginalized communities are often erased in discussions on theory, research methods and even pedagogy. Not only are the epistemological experiences and realities of marginalized students erased, but the canon is further legitimized leading to the training of scholars and teachers who go on to (in)advertently uphold racism, white supremacy, colonialism and imperialism in their research, teaching and service.
Bilchiinsi Philosophy: Decolonizing Methodologies in Media Studies
Abstract: In recent times, there have been calls for decolonization in academia as a whole and the field of communication and media studies with particular focus on narratives such as #CommunicationSoWhite and #RhetoricSoWhite. Despite these wide calls for decolonization there remains a lacuna of research on the topic within the African academy. Drawing on what I call an African feminist autoethnography framework grounded in a decolonial philosophy of Bilchiinsi, I present critical reflections on my experiences as an African scholar conducting research on media studies on the continent. I argue that although canonical theories can be useful in theorizing African media systems, it is imperative to decolonize research by first looking to Indigenous African epistemologies and knowledge systems to support knowledge production in media studies and communication(s). I draw on my experiences as a scholar co-creating knowledge with marginalized communities in Northern Ghana to discuss the legitimacy of African knowledge systems and parse out methodological strategies that were informed by these knowledge systems. I demonstrate the ways in which my knowledge gathering in this region is guided by the Dagbaŋ philosophy of Bilchiinsi which ontologically emphasizes respecting the human dignity of interlocutors. I highlight the need for a paradigm shift in knowledge-building in media studies and communication(s) especially when African communities are the focus.
Decolonizing African Media Studies
This paper won First Place in the Faculty Paper Awards also known as the Robert L. Stevenson Open Paper Competition. It also won Best Paper in African Journalism Studies Award.
Abstract: Drawing on an African feminist autoethnography framework grounded in a decolonial philosophy of Bilchiinsi, I present critical reflections on my experiences as an African scholar conducting research on media studies in Ghana. I argue that although canonical theories can be useful in theorizing African media systems, it is imperative to decolonize research by first looking to Indigenous African epistemologies and knowledge systems to support knowledge production in media studies and communication(s).
Decolonizing African Media Studies
Abstract: African Media Studies which is marginalized in the Global North academy lacks not only representation from African students/scholars but is also under-theorized. Employing a decolonial approach, this article presents a critical analysis of African Media Studies from the perspective of a recent PhD graduate and early career scholar. Using what I call an African feminist autoethnography framework, I draw on my experiences as an African graduate student in the Global North to demonstrate the erasure of African Media Studies in curricula and highlight the challenges faced by African students and scholars within this field. I argue that to understand the challenges mitigating the growth of African Studies scholarship produced by Africans, it is imperative to understand the lived experience of Africans in the academy and pay attention to how these experiences can guide us toward a path of decolonizing African Media Studies. The article also highlights the importance of drawing on indigenous African knowledge systems to build theories that best suit our research on African media. It also draws attention to the importance of transdisciplinarity to the growth of the field and provides alternative ways to rethink the position and growth of African Media Studies in the global academy.
Find publication here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10646175.2021.1871868?journalCode=uhjc20