Virtual Lecture Series: Angela Okune (University of California) – Postcolonial Objectivity: Reaching for Decolonial Knowledge Making in Nairobi. January 20th, 2022, 09.30 am (PST) | Association for Cultural Studies

flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks 2022-01-11


Angela Okune (University of California) – Postcolonial Objectivity: Reaching for Decolonial Knowledge Making in Nairobi January 20th, 2022 9:30 AM PST/ Pacific Standard Time (GMT -8) Abstract: Based on work over the last decade within Nairobi’s tech-for-good sector, followed by a year of ethnographic research within organizations in Kenya’s research landscapes, I trace shifting contours and edges of what is considered to be good knowledge in scientific representation in Kenya. I scale between analyses of the political economy and geopolitics of translocal knowledge production to ethnographically rich descriptions of Kenyan histories of imperialism, publishing, and post-war Development. The asymmetrical knowledge infrastructures established have created conditions where everyday research amongst particular communities in Nairobi is often experienced as extractive, externally-driven, and extroverted for a Western audience. Some social scientists in Kenya are responding by pursuing knowledge that gains its validity through recognition of and grounding in its location. I call this emergent regime of scientific representation in Kenya “postcolonial objectivity” and suggest that a recurrent argument and goal of postcolonial objectivity is robust contextualization of knowledge. I close by discussing my own attempts towards postcolonial objectivity, working to build supporting technical infrastructure as an experimental space for collaborative effort to figure out what kinds of questions can be asked under postcolonial objectivity going forward. Bio: Angela Okune studies data practices and infrastructures of research groups working in and on Nairobi, Kenya in order to explore broader questions of equity, knowledge production and socio-economic development in Africa. Angela received her doctorate in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine and has been awarded research fellowships by the National Science Foundation, The Wenner-Gren Foundation, and University of California Berkeley Center for Technology, Society and Policy. From 2010 – 2015, as co-founder of the research department at iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the tech community, Angela provided strategic guidance for the growth of tech research in Kenya. She was a Network Coordinator for the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (2014 – 2018) and co-editor for open-access book Contextualizing Openness (University of Ottawa Press). She currently works as a Senior Program Manager at Code for Science and Society. Angela also serves on the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Council and as a Design Team member of the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE). Angela is an Associate Editor on a collective editorial team for the Open Access journal, Engaging Science, Technology, and Society and is a founding member of the experimental, open ethnographic data portal called Research Data Share (


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Tags: oa.south oa.kenya oa.dei oa.decolonization

Date tagged:

01/11/2022, 09:54

Date published:

01/11/2022, 04:54