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CONSTRUIRE L’UNIVERSITE POPULAIRE AFRICAINE QUI VIENT (CUPAV)

Introductory Seminar: What is a study group?

The goal of this seminar is to develop conceptual unity among affiliates of the African Group for Critical Action and Study (GAEC). A diversely and multiply constituted collective of people in, around, and distinct from the university, GAEC seeks to leverage the sense of being in but not of the university in order to engage in emancipatory work that will have an impact beyond the university. In order to accomplish this task, this seminar will practice emancipatory thinking and doing in our horizontal and networked organizational form, in our topics and tone of conversation, and in our shared productions. A “study group” differs from a university seminar or course insofar as there is not a scholar who “banks” knowledge into the heads of students; rather, we will co-construct a shared space for thinking together. 

 

In this inaugural seminar we will propose a working definition of study and action to fit our purposes by way of reading, discussing, and translating Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s The Undercommons. Moten and Harney’s collaborative effort, which has gained traction internationally on the fringes of academia, the art world and social movement spaces, was chosen notably because both its form and content provoke a reflection upon the notion of study, collectivity, and planning. As a multilingual space, linguistic difference within the seminar will be as much a generative resource as it might be a practical challenge. We are not, in this collective endeavor, aiming at the “proper” translation, nor the sound interpretation, but rather we are seeking a displacement from and appropriation for our own space of a text born out of another site of enunciation. We hope to publish our collective work online. 

 

In particular, we are looking for participants committed to devoting 5-10 hours of their time weekly to a creative, rigorous, and reflective labor. The seminar will last for 10 weeks and will be conducted in an intensive and collaborative format. Participants will be expected to take leadership and initiative in the management and animation of the seminar. Reading (as opposed to speaking) proficiency in English will be useful, but not required. The seminar will be held on Saturdays at 12:00pm GMT, starting June 13, 2020. 

 

If interested in participating, please send an email to contact@gaec-africa.org outlining who you are, what are you coming with, and what are you coming for. 

 

 

Objectives of seminar:

  1. To assess the challenges and opportunities for doing emancipatory work in, from, and around Senegalese universities

  2. To formulate a provisional understanding of “critical study" and “critical action”

  3. To identify and interrogate principles of emancipatory research from historical and contemporary models

  4. To establish subjects to be taken up by GAEC

  5. To produce a collective document

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