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Early Career Summer School: Theory for a Global Age

Theory for a Global Age: The Place of Africa?

The place of Africa within theories of the global is usually present only by its absence. Or, if it is present, then Africa is there to provide local colour to an abstract global theory, theorised from elsewhere. Even within theoretical initiatives that primarily address the world beyond Europe and the US, Africa is very often left off the intellectual map. Postcolonial theories, for example, focus primarily on the relationship between Europe and South Asia (or the Middle East as with Said’s Orientalism); and theories of decoloniality look to Latin America.  While it is common to describe what is global about processes observed within African societies, it is rare to describe a global process as African in origin. Nor is much consideration commonly given to the implication for global theories of the foregrounding of Africa within them.

In this summer school, we intend to place Africa firmly at the centre of key debates within the humanities and social sciences.  We will ask, among other things, how these debates change if the starting point of analysis is located in Africa itself.  Participants will also consider whether there is a conceptual language or theoretical framework for addressing Africa’s place in the world.  This summer school builds on the summer school run last year on ‘Theory for a Global Age: Postcolonial and Cosmopolitan Perspectives.’ 

The summer school will run for a week from 5-9th July 2010 and offer a mix of expert lectures and participant-led discussion groups and seminars. It will be organised around five themes:

  • Theories of origin
  • Theories of culture
  • Theories of literature
  • Theories of heritage
  • Theories of history

Short web address:

If you require any further information, please email one of the organisers or send an email to







Past activities 







Public Lecture:

What Africa Gives the World
Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African Society

Thursday, 8th July, 4.30-6.30pm, MS0.4 (Maths Building)

All Welcome!


Gurminder K Bhambra - Sociology

Dan Branch - History

Dan Orrells - Classics



5-9th July, 2010


Wolfson Research Exchange