What drives the African History Project?

The African History Project is a new School of Black political and intellectual history. Our mission is to design and deliver world-class courses that inspire students, spark debate and champion the study of Black political and intellectual history.

Our Mission

Our mission is also to champion the intellectual output of Black scholars and African approaches to education and intellectualism. This manifests in:

  • prioritising the work of Black scholars in our explorations of Black political and intellectual historical narratives; 
  • rejecting the work of scholars writing from a colonial perspective, other than if critiquing that perspective; and
  • committing to course and research design that always places its starting point within the Black intellectual and lived experience, i.e. to study Africa and Africans from the perspective of Africa and Africans, without unnecessary reference or analogy to any other intellectual or lived experience. 

Our mission is further to champion the tenets of the African philosophy of history and education, to promote a new pedagogical and andragogical constitution that challenges academics to recalibrate their priorities to ensure that teaching is as invested in as research – in essence, to re-humanise the academy. 

About Us | Our Team | African History | Black Political Thought | Education

Why are we a Project and not a University, College or School?

A Project is ‘an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim’. A Project is a living endeavour, a work-in-progress that values both the journey and the destination. We see ourselves as mission-driven educators and researchers. Our mission is to re-insert Black political and intellectual historical narratives (and the intellectuals who conceive them) into global discourses and facilitate our students in discovering Black political and intellectual historical narratives through student-centred courses. Thus, as an educational institution, we are constituted within the African philosophy of education that rejects all forms of reduction – standardisation, dichotomisation and racialisation – promotes human-centred knowledge acquisition, and values the narrative and emotive over the empirical and objective.

We are not a University or College as these words have a special meaning and in many countries are even protected by law to maintain the integrity of traditional educational institutions. Our ultimate aim is to one day achieve the legal status of a University or College. However, we may not change our name even if we achieve this. 

We considered originally calling the institution the School of African History and Political Thought – we have not ruled this out and may do so in the future. 

The Africxn Review: Decolonising the Global Citizenship Agenda in History Education

Is the African History Project a political organisation or a social enterprise?

No, we are neither a political institution nor a social enterprise. As our mission is to champion Black political and intellectual historical narratives, we strongly believe that a charitable or social enterprise ethos would be counterproductive at this stage in our development. We think it would perpetuate the “otherness” or “niche-ness” of the histories and ideas about which we are passionate.

Many people mistake us for such an institution, but we are different in a number of ways:

  • We do not engage in any political activity or support any political position. 
  • Our courses are intellectually driven and steer away from any proto-nationalist leanings, other than when teaching proto-nationalist discourses. 
  • We believe that a market-driven mindset to our course development at this stage will allow the institution to learn to stand on its own two feet. Many wonderful organisations have come and gone on the whim of philanthropic fervour. We want to build a strong institution that lacks a culture of reliance on state and private charitable funding, that has to think critically about course design, and needs to remain deeply connected to students, researchers, and partners to understand the prevailing intellectual needs. This is not to say that we will never establish a charitable arm. We are committed to periodically reviewing our structure to ensure we are best placed to continue to fulfil our mission of supporting as many people as possible to immerse themselves in the wonders of Black political and intellectual history. 

In essence, our championing of the African personality in education and research is not a political but a humanist endeavour. We hope to facilitate the study of Black political and intellectual history free from the reductions, dichotomisations and racialisations of the western modernist movement of the last 200 years. 

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