Skip to main content

Disrupting the Psychology Canon? Exploring African-Centered Decolonial Pedagogy

Part of the Community Psychology book series (COMPSY)

Abstract

The call for decolonisation has led to the unsettling of the status quo within most institutions of higher education in South Africa. We contend that this moment of potential epistemic rupture provides the opportunity for African scholars to reshape the disciplines and disrupt Western canons of knowledge that have dominated African scholarship. Decolonisation has disrupted and challenged transformation discourses that sought to level the playing field without deeply engaging with structural challenges that continue to hinder change. We reflect on our personal challenges, concerns, discomforts and attempts at re-imagining and engaging with decolonial pedagogy. Furthermore, we present our thoughts about the ethical responsibility we carry as African scholars towards epistemic justice. We explore some of these thoughts by presenting three experiential accounts in which we highlight the decolonial and African epistemologies we have adopted in our facilitation of teaching and learning of psychology in general and community psychology in particular at our respective universities. These accounts demonstrate the importance of bringing our histories and communal identities to the pedagogical encounter.

Keywords

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD   129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD   169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD   169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions

References

  • Ahmed, S. (2009). Embodying diversity: Problems and paradoxes for black feminists. Race Ethnicity and Education, 12(1), 41–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Andreotti, V. O., Stein, S., Ahenakew, C., & Hunt, D. (2015). Mapping interpretations of decolonization in the context of higher education. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 4(1), 21–40.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anonymous. (1986). Some thoughts on a more relevant or indigenous counselling psychology in South Africa: Discovering the socio-political context of the oppressed. Psychology in Society, 5, 81–89.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baloyi, L., & Ramose, M. B. (2016). Psychology and psychotherapy redefined from the viewpoint of the African experience. Alternation Special Edition, 18, 12–35.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bujo, B. (1998). The ethical dimension of community: The African model and the dialogue between north and south. Nairobi, Kenya: Paulines Publications Africa.

    Google Scholar 

  • Canham, H. (2014). Outsiders within: Non-conformity among four contemporary black female managers in South Africa. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 29(3), 148–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crossman, P., and Devisch, R. (1999). Endogenisation and African Universities: Initiatives and Issues in the Quest for Plurality in the Human Sciences, Leuven, The Netherlands, Katholieke Universiteit Leaven.

    Google Scholar 

  • de Sousa Santos, B. (2014). Epistemologies of the south: Justice against epistemicide. London New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duncan, N. (2013). Community psychology: Analysis context and action. Cape Town, South Africa: Juta.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duncan, N., Bowman, B., Naidoo, T., Pillay, J., & Roos, V. (2008). Community psychology in South Africa: Theory, context and practice. Cape Town, South Africa: UCT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fanon, F. (1967). The wretched of the earth [1961], (Trans.). Constance Farrington. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Kääntänyt Myra Bergman Ramos, London: Penguin Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fryer, D. (2008). Some questions about “The history of community psychology”. Journal of Community Psychology, 36(5), 572–586.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, L. R. (2006). Disciplinary decadence: Living thought in trying times. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grosfoguel, R., Oso, L., & Christou, A. (2015). ‘Racism’, intersectionality and migration studies: Framing some theoretical reflections. Identities, 22(6), 635–652.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gyekye, K. (2002). Person and community in African thought. In P. H. Coetzee & A. P. J. Roux (Eds.), Philosophy from Africa: A text with readings (2nd ed., pp. 179–312). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kiguwa, P., & Canham, H. (2010). Creating a culture of thinking? Reflections on teaching an undergraduate critical social psychology course. Acta Academica, 2010(Suppl. 2), 62–90.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kovach, M. (2010a). Conversation method in indigenous research. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 5(1), 40–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kovach, M. (2010b). Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lazarus, S. (1988). The role of the psychologist in South African society: In search of an appropriate community psychology (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lazarus, S., & Seedat, M. (1995). Community psychology in South Africa. Presented at the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL.

    Google Scholar 

  • Makalela, L. (2017). Bilingualism in South Africa: Reconnecting with Ubuntu: Translanguaging. In O. Garcia, A. Lin, & S. May (Eds.), Bilingual and multilingual education (pp. 297–309). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007). On the coloniality of being: Contributions to the development of a concept. Cultural Studies, 21(2–3), 240–270.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Manganyi, N. C. (1973). Being-black-in-the-world. Johannesburg: Raven Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marx, J. (2004). Postcolonial literature and the Western literary canon. In N. Lazarus (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to postcolonial literary studies (pp. 83–96). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Mignolo, W. D. (2009). Epistemic disobedience, independent thought and decolonial freedom. Theory, Culture & Society, 26(7–8), 159–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mkhize, N. (2004). Psychology: An African perspective. In D. Hook, N. Mkhize, P. Kiguwa, & A. Collins (Eds.), Critical psychology (pp. 25–52). Lansdowne, South Africa: UCT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Montero, M. (2007). The political psychology of liberation: From politics to ethics and back. Political Psychology, 28(5), 517–533.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Motsemme, N. (2004). The meanings in silence: Memory. Rhodes Journalism Review, 2004(24), 4–5.

    Google Scholar 

  • Naidoo, A. V. (2000). Inaugural Lecture. Community psychology: Constructing community, reconstructing psychology in South Africa. Stellenbosch, South Africa: University of Stellenbosch.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ngcukaitobi, T. (2018). The land is ours: South Africa’s first black lawyers and the birth of constitutionalism. Johannesburg: Penguin Random House.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nobles, W. W., Baloyi, L., & Sodi, T. (2016). Pan African humanness and Sakhu Djaer as praxis for indigenous knowledge systems. Alternation Special Edition, 18, 36–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nwoye, A. (2018). African psychology and the emergence of the Madiban tradition. Theory & Psychology, 28(1), 38–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nyamnjoh, F. B. (2005). A relevant education for African development—Some epistemological considerations. Africa Development, 29(1), 161–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Odora Hoppers, C. A. (2002). Indigenous knowledge and the integration of knowledge systems: Towards a philosophy of articulation. Claremont, South Africa: New Africa Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Painter, D., Terre Blanche, M. J., & Henderson, J. (2006). Critical psychology in South Africa: Histories, themes and prospects. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 5, 212–235.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paperson, I. (2017). A third university is possible. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Pinar, W. F. (2012). What is curriculum theory? New York, NY: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Plaatje, S. T. (1991). Native life in South Africa before and since the European war and the Boer rebellion. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pollock, G. (1999). Differencing the canon: Feminist desire and the writing of art’s histories. Hove, England: Psychology Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramose, M. B. (2002). The philosophy of Ubuntu and Ubuntu as a philosophy. In P. H. Coetzee & A. P. J. Roux (Eds.), Philosophy from Africa: A text with readings (pp. 230–237). Cape Town: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramose, M. B. (2005). African philosophy through Ubuntu. Harare: Mond Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramose, M. B. (2016). Interview with professor Mogobe Ramose. Journal on African Philosophy, 14, 93–100.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramose, M. B., & Baloyi, L. (n.d.). Questioning educational methodologies in pursuit of epistemic and social justice in South Africa. (Unpublished manuscript).

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramoupi, N. L. L. (2014). African research and scholarship: 20 years of lost opportunities to transform higher education in South Africa. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 38(1), 269–286.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ratele, K. (2015, March 3). Transformation of higher education should not be skin deep, UNISA. Retrieved from http://www.unisa.ac.za/news/index.php/2015/03/transformation-of-higher-education-should-not-be-skin-deep/

  • Ratele, K. (2017). Editorial: Six theses on African psychology for the world. Psychology in Society, 54, 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reyes Cruz, M. R., & Sonn, C. C. (2011). (De) colonizing culture in community psychology: Reflections from critical social science. American Journal of Community Psychology, 47(1–2), 203–214.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Seleoane, M. (2014). Without fear or favour: Political essays. Pretoria, South Africa: Ears Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharpe, C. (2016). In the wake: On blackness and being. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (2nd ed.). London/New York: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Snow, D. L., Grady, K., & Goyette-Ewing, M. (2000). A perspective on ethical issues in community psychology. In J. Rappaport & E. Seidman (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology (pp. 897–917). Boston, MA: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Teo, T. (2010). What is epistemological violence in the empirical social sciences? Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(5), 295–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Toro, P. A. (2005). Community psychology: Where do we go from here? American Journal of Community Psychology, 35(1–2), 9–16.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 1–40.

    Google Scholar 

  • wa Thiong’o, N. (1993). Moving the centre: The struggle for cultural freedoms. London/Portsmouth, NH: J. Currey/Heinemann.

    Google Scholar 

  • Walsh, C. (2012). “Other” knowledges, “other” critiques: Reflections on the politics and practices of philosophy and decoloniality in the “other” America. Transmodernity, 1(3), 11–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Woodard, J. B., & Mastin, T. (2005). Black womanhood: Essence and its treatment of stereotypical images of black women. Journal of Black Studies, 36(2), 264–281.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hugo Canham .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Canham, H., Baloyi, L., Segalo, P. (2021). Disrupting the Psychology Canon? Exploring African-Centered Decolonial Pedagogy. In: Stevens, G., Sonn, C.C. (eds) Decoloniality and Epistemic Justice in Contemporary Community Psychology. Community Psychology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-72220-3_11

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics