Materialities and mobilities in transnational capacity-building projects: Uneven geographies of knowledge production

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This paper analyses so-called capacity building projects in African universities in relation to mobility and access to materiality. Capacity-building projects are typically framed as transnational projects funded by a donor in the Global North, targeting researchers in the Global South. Inevitably, these projects are embedded in various types of coloniality, which the “capacity building” discourse itself shows. During and after colonialism, uneven access to libraries and laboratories gave rise to mobility, that is, scholars travelling to the Global North to get access to materialities necessary for knowledge production. Through analyses of Danish capacity building projects aimed at relocating materialities for knowledge production to West Africa, I show how local access to materialities can enable more “independent” knowledge production. However, this mobility of materialities has not reduced academic mobility. Despite increased accessibility of scientific knowledges and its materialities in the peripheries of (hegemonic) Anglo-American knowledge centres, the “competition fetish” (Naidoo, 2018) and demands for internationalisation mean that mobility to these knowledge centres still play an important role for many African scholars.

TidsskriftPopulation, Space and Place
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2020

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