George Dei

The Africanist Seminar presents:

“Elders’ Cultural Knowledge and The Question of Black/African Indigeneity”

A talk by Professor George J. Sefa Dei

(Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah)

Social Justice Education


What is the potential of African Elders’ cultural knowledge for engaging the question of Black Indigeneity as site and source of epistemic decolonization? How does African Elders’ cultural knowledges allow us to engage the question of ‘Indigeneity and decolonization’ discursively and politically in responding to the African human condition? This presentation is based on an on-going SSHRC Insight Grant project examining specific teachings relating to community, social responsibility, environment, Land, social justice, equity, youth leadership, respect, and mutual interdependence that can be learned from African Elders, and how these could influence educational and social successes for youth and help develop an alter/ counter-vision of education. The study examines African Elders’ cultural knowledges contained in stories, proverbs, fables, folktales myths and mythologies as grounded Indigenous epistemologies. The engagement of Elders’ cultural knowledge point to critical understandings of the relationships between knowledge, power, identity, subjectivity, history and politics. Clearly, there is the power of sub-intern knowledges, that are attentive to place-based epistemologies. 

My paper seeks a connection between Elders cultural knowledge and placed-based epistemologies. African Elders knowledge is one of the most valuable elements of a decolonial philosophy and anti-colonial praxis. Evoking the anti-colonial philosophy of human encounter and praxis, it is enthused decolonization cannot happen solely through Western science scholarship and that the complex challenges facing us today defy universalist solutions; they require multi-centric ways of knowing/doing/acting that help us appreciate the power of complex, multiple & intersecting ontologies and epistemologies. The discussion reclaims Black/African Indigeneity as an important source and site of critical Black/African social and pedagogical thought for liberation. In conclusion, I share the implications and possibilities of a new Black/African educational futurity.

BIO of Professor George J. Sefa Dei 

Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei is a renowned educator, researcher and writer who is considered by many as one of Canada’s foremost scholars on race and anti-racism studies. He is a widely sought after academic, researcher and community worker whose professional and academic work has led to many Canadian and international speaking invitations in US, Europe and Africa. Currently, he is Professor of Social Justice Education and Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Professor Dei is the 2015, 2016 and 2018 Carnegie African Diasporan Fellow. In August of 2012, Professor Dei also received the honorary title of ‘Professor Extraordinarire’ from the University of South Africa, [UNISA]. In 2017, he was elected as Fellow of Royal Society of Canada, the most prestigious award for an academic scholar. He also received the ‘2016 Whitworth Award for Educational Research’ from the Canadian Education Association (CEA) awarded to the Canadian scholar whose research and scholarship have helped shaped Canadian national educational policy and practice.  He has over thirty-two books (32) books and over seventy (70) refereed journal articles to his credit.  Finally, in June of 2007, Professor Dei was installed as a traditional chief in Ghana, specifically, as the Gyaasehene of the town of Asokore, Koforidua in the New Juaben Traditional Area of Ghana. His stool name is Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah.

All Welcome! +Refreshments! Sponsored by the African Studies Program at New College



Date: February 8th, 2019
Start Time: 2:00pm
End Time: 4:00pm
Location: Wilson Hall, Room 2053. 20 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario
Contact: Prof. Marieme Lo Director, African Studies Program