Pan-African Epistemologies of Knowledge Production

A Deconstruction-Based Critical Reflection

  • James Dzisah University of Ghana
  • Michael Kpessa-Whyte Institute of Africa Studies
Keywords: African academy, deconstruction, epistemology, knowledge production, Pan-Africanism


The idea of Pan-African epistemologies of knowledge production remains a vexing issue that continues to promote critical transdisciplinary discourse. The intent of this paper is not to bring finality but rather to broaden the debate through the lens of Gayatri Spivak’s deconstruction-laced strategic essentialism. To this end, we resituate the discourse within the broader architecture, structures, and processes of postcolonial thought where Pan-African epistemologies of knowledge production are reinvigorated in pushing forward the unfinished business of liberation and transformation in knowledge production. This is done with a renewed search for Pan-African epistemologies of knowledge production within the collective insights of indigenous knowledges. The idea is to interrogate the practices of knowledge production and usage that privileged coloniality. In deconstructing knowledge, we simultaneously engaged in its reconstruction and highlight how hegemonic domination is perpetuated through disguised performativity matrices neutrally packaged as pristine scholarly practices but masked with hegemonic and colonial intent.