[Debate] article on SA universities
Helena.Sheehan at dcu.ie
Sun Jun 28 11:28:15 BST 2009
No one has ever accused me before of going at a topic half throttle or kicking
for a draw. I have no fear or hesitation about entering into robust polemics.
I don't know about rucking and mauling for a win though. I would like to
illuminate and persuade. I have not backed down on any of my assertions.
However, a certain modesty of tone in warranted on my part when so many on
this list live so much closer to the realities about which I am writing than
I do. I stand over my assessment of Makgoba as an obstacle to progressive
transformation and africanisation. However, it is not wrong for me to have
some sensitivity to the sensibilities of some of those who defend him, because
they are motivated by a sincere desire for genuine transformation.
Yes, indeed, we need to attend to epistemology and big theory. Yes, there
is definitely a role for alternative institutions to do what our universities
are failing to do, but we also need to work within universities to raise
questions about the very process of production of knowledge and to pursue
knowledge according to alternative norms. There is still space to do that.
Thank you for your kind words on my involvement in SA. I hope to continue
as long as I have means and years to do so.
>-- Original Message --
>Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 08:49:58 +0200
>Subject: Re: article on SA universities
>From: Dominic Tweedie <dominic.tweedie at gmail.com>
>To: helena.sheehan at dcu.ie
>Cc: DEBATE <debate-list at fahamu.org>
>Your modesty is touching, but for heaven's sake, it's no good going at this
>topic half-throttle. You mustn't do like the British and Irish Lions did
>kick for a draw. You must ruck and maul for a win! With respect, prof.
>Thanks for the good links. I think we all need a bigger theory. "Science
>Wars" was about a bounded group called "scientific community". Now we need
>an equivalent epistemological theory that is extended to the entire society.
>This theory would trace the selection and propagation of both knowledge
>of subjective determinations, through to the masses. In this theoretical
>framework, universities would appear potentially as heroes or villains,
>but always in supporting roles, and never as the main actors. It would be
>"shrinking" of the universities, egotistically speaking, but a potential
>rebirth for them on a better, non-gatekeeping, non-bottlenecking basis that
>would be in touch with all of society, and so possibly much larger in
>The theory would include the possibility and indeed necessity of a by-pass
>mechanism for working round the universities, like our Communist University
>was meant to be. It would include ways and means of preventing such a
>general movement of knowledge and agency from being re-expropriated by the
>universities and other bourgeois-style institutions, including institutions
>of mass media like the SABC and the Johannesburg Sunday Times.
>By the way, things have changed since 2002 and to a great extent because
>people like Cde Dr Blade Nzimande. I don't know why he would not greet you
>with a big smile and an open heart. You played a role, after all, comrade.
>You put a stick on the pile, as much as anybody did, and you felt the sting
>of the backlash, like any of us.
>Really, comrade, we need your help. Please, please, please!
>2009/6/27 Helena Sheehan <Helena.Sheehan at dcu.ie>
>> Thank you so much, Dominic, Chambi, Hanif, Mandisi, Patrick, for your
>> responses to my article.
Professor Helena Sheehan
Dublin City University
Dublin 9 Ireland
e-mail: helena.sheehan at dcu.ie
More information about the Debate-list