For those interested in the questioning of the humanities, this is a significant contribution for rethinking the university in the Global South and in the corporatized Western academy. It is a strong critique of neo-liberal policies and practices that, together with colonial legacies and authoritarian rule, plague African higher education. The other added value is the focus on so-called Lusophone Africa, one that is not easily found in English.
This collective work results from an exercise to re-enact freedom in the African University(-ies). It mobilizes the concept of Public Humanities in order to reflect upon the current emptying of emancipatory possibilities in African Higher Education that has been feeding itself from the prevalence of undemocratic rule in the shadow of neoliberal policies, transfiguring what liberation struggles set out to do into normative and disciplinary politics. But also decolonial and citizenship contemporary aspirations and the current and institutionalized attacks on critical thinking and pedagogy at the university as well as the need to qualify the relationship between the institutionalized site of the university and the production of emancipation and freedom. In the Public Humanities approach rehearsed here, humanity is not a soliloquy; it is a matter of ontological insurrections, solidarity and justice against zones of non-being. Consequently, the university should not be the site of authoritative conformity; it needs to become a sort of contemporary ondjango (a home to hold conversations) where our humanities, comprising disciplines and being, are valued and not commodified or subjugated.
Catarina Antunes Gomes holds a degree in Anthropology with a specialization in Social and Cultural Anthropology as well as a PhD in Sociology with a specialization in Sociology of the State, the Law and Administration. She conducted her post-doctoral research in the intersection between sociology and postcolonial studies at Centro de Estudos Sociais, Coimbra University, Portugal. She is currently co-coordinator of the Social sciences and humanities Lab at the Catholic University of Angola.
Cesaltina Abreu holds a degree in Agronomy, with a specialization in Botany and Plant Protection, at the IAC (International Agricultural Centre) Wageningen, Netherlands. She has a PhD in Sociology at IUPERJ, Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her main areas of interest include Political Sociology, State-Society relations, Citizenship, Public Space and Governance. She is currently co-coordinator of the Social Sciences and Humanities Lab at the Catholic University of Angola