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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Call for Proposals: Support to Doctoral schools, Re-building

Call for Proposals: Support to Doctoral schools, Re-building scholarly infrastructures and academic communities in the Humanities in African Universities:
Deadline for submission of proposals: 30th March 2020

With funding support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, CODESRIA, is pleased to announce a call for proposals to support Schools and Faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities and Doctoral Schools to organize interventions aimed at capacity building in the teaching and research of the Humanities in their Institutions. The initiative carries forward CODESRIA’s work in strengthening the institutional bases for knowledge production in the social sciences and humanities in African universities, and is linked to the Council’s 2017- 2021 Strategic Plan that focuses on ‘Reaching New Frontiers in Social Research and Knowledge Production for African Transformation and Development’.

This “call for proposals” is part of CODESRIA’s efforts to reposition and strengthen research and teaching of the humanities in African universities. The overall goal is to engender a generation of academics and knowledge that can enable the people of the continent critically (re) imagine and (re)create better, freer, more sustainable, and more inclusive communities. CODESRIA beliefs that focusing these efforts on doctoral schools and supporting efforts at rebuilding scholarly communities in the institutions through interventions such as convening academic seminars and workshops; writing and publications workshops and workshops that seek to induct doctoral supervisors in emerging disciplinary frameworks and methodologies, will potentially result in recreating the culture of academic excellence in the teaching and research in the humanities. The strategy here will be to support activities that contribute towards reviving infrastructures for teaching and researching the humanities, including support for faculty seminars and workshops and supporting faculty-based publication and dissemination outlets.

Established in 1973, CODESRIA is a Pan-African organization dedicated to development in Africa by promoting research on some of the most fundamental questions using the humanities and social sciences. CODESRIA seeks to magnify the voices of African and Diaspora scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) on the most important questions in African life through support for research, training, publication, dissemination and advocacy. In doing this, CODESRIA seeks to act as a strategic partner for higher education institutions and research centers in Africa as well as policy actors and practitioners engaged in policy work that might benefit from sound knowledge. The HSS in higher education institutions in Africa have had a troubled past in finding anchorage within institutions. In the first and second decades that most universities in Africa were established, the disciplines sought for space both in terms of creating an indigenous African academic community and a relevant curriculum that articulated with the political and socio-economic development imperatives in the African continent. It did help the course of the SSH in the nascent institutions that in terms of their pedagogical and epistemological orientations, they provided platforms upon which the quest for political independence and national self-determination of African countries, and their subsequent search for development blueprints after independence, were based. The funding crisis that the institutions in the 1980s and the subsequent decline witnessed in the 1990s left the HSS in a precarious position. Currently, the HSS disciplines face underfunding. This is partly due to the widespread neo-liberal arguments that what Africa needs for development are the STEM disciplines. Institutions continue underfunding infrastructures in the HSS, students enrollments have dipped and infrastructures to produce the next generation of social scientists and humanities scholars are barely adequate.

Proposals to be supported under this call should be submitted by individual/groups of graduate/doctoral schools and/or HSS faculties and teaching departments.

Proposals should focus on one of the following activities:

  • Support for strengthening of the administrative aspects of graduate schools in the humanities including issues to do with curricular reform, doctoral student supervision practices and mentoring of faculty for graduate supervision;
  • Interventions to rebuild/recreate scholarly infrastructures and academic communities in the HSS through holding faculty seminars, strengthening faculty journals and conferences, systems to revitalise strong workshop and seminar cultures, etc.
  • Support for scholarly writing and academic publishing workshops in the Humanities, especially targeting doctoral students and early career academics.

Proposals submitted should include the following:

      A 10-page concept proposal outlining the activity to be supported, how it will be organized, if it will be jointly organized with doctoral schools/faculties from other institutions, the number of participants targeted and how it fits into the institution’s overall academic plan and CODESRIA’s strategy as outlined in this call. Also to be included are the overall outputs and outcomes expected from the activity. It will also be important to show how the institution intends to sustain such activities on an annual basis.
      A forwarding letter from a senior institutional administrator and another from the Dean of the school/faculty proposing to host the activity;
      A detailed budget indicating the amount of funding required for organizing the activity. An indication of any support from the institution to support the activity proposed will be an added advantage in terms of reviewing the overall suitability of the proposal for support.
      The duration of the activity (CODESRIA will support activities lasting from 5- 10 working days) and hosted within institutional environments.

Those to be supported under this call will be expected to submit to CODESRIA a publishable scientific report of the accomplishments and the next steps. Complete application documents should be posted to CODESRIA Submission System https://codesria.org/submission/

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