Monday, April 17, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria

" does not mean that it is a concession that scholars should be irresponsible with their work.......

But by the same token all knowledge claims have to be subjected to agreed upon systematic criteria for evaluating such claims." Zalanga

This is the crux of the matter. Facts are not like fish on the fishmonger's slab, to quote E.H Carr. At the same time, though,
 we have to strive as much as possible  to prevent narcissism, egoism and unbridled bias from creeping into the analysis.
 Think of all the Eurocentric narratives that we have been bombarded with. We challenge them because they are often
jaundiced, egotistical, narcissistic accounts parading as scholarship. Or they may be localized accounts claiming universalism
 and global credentials. We have to draw the line somewhere.

Religious texts such as the Bible and the Quran are indeed the product of a specific environment and era. We know now that
 ideas about the great flood, the tower of Babel, and so on, emanate from pre- Biblical Babylonian culture. Ideas about Sata,
 the rebel serpent and the immaculate conception of Auset (Isis) are of northeast African origin. Speaking about inspired texts,
 the Old Testament seems to be a treatise of Jewish nationalism, emerging at a particular point in history. I am happy that
Zalanga brought up the issue of revelations. 

I would say that  Moses and Ibrahim make valid points and the truth is somewhere in the middle. Mannheim's  free floating
 intelligentsia is not humanly possible, and Ibrahim cannot be "ethnic-free". Socialization in an ethnic context maybe inescapable.
 Even so, scholarly work should not be drenched in one's ethnicity. At some point you have to step back and remember that  you,
 your readership and  your audience deserve more than crass biography.

It's a slippery slope.


Professor Gloria Emeagwali

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