A short guide for academic researchers working in African states

This is by Keguro Macharia over at The New Inquiry:

You are a researcher, not a tourist. Don’t act like a tourist.

Do not be condescending. Do not tell your hosts that they are “clever” or “bright” or “intelligent.” Do not act surprised when your conceptual paradigms are challenged. Engage those who challenge you.

Don’t turn us into native informants. Respect us as intellectual equals. Ask us the same kinds of questions you’d ask people you consider intellectual equals. Be rigorous. We can take it. Expect the same.

Never ever presume to tell us what is “wrong with us” and how we can “fix” ourselves. If you’re tempted to “offer solutions,” resist the temptation. Figure out the work that’s being done. Try to find a way to enter existing conversations.

Read the whole thing here.

Advertisements