Upcoming Conversation with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o on Decolonizing the American University

Distinguished Professor and author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has been theorizing and practicing decolonization for decades. In his 1986 critically acclaimed book, Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, Ngũgĩ offered a critical perspective on how language can be both a tool of colonial oppression and a means through which Africans can break the shackles of imperial bondage. To illustrate the urgency of preserving and elevating African languages, Ngũgĩ has stopped publishing works in English, choosing instead to write in his native language, Gĩkũyũ. Professor Ngũgĩ’s critical approach to thinking and practicing decolonization is the subject of his upcoming talk for the Council on African Studies on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 4 p.m. EST. 

The talk, titled “Decolonizing the American University” is part of the African Writers in Conversation series organized by English Professor, Stephanie Newell. The conversation with Ngũgĩ will be moderated by Professor Newell and Ciru Wainaina, a Ph.D. student in the department of English. The event has attracted wide-ranging interest with registrants signing up from across the globe. Given the anticipated large attendance, guests are encouraged to submit questions for Professor Ngũgĩ at registration.

Recent conversations about the role various institutions have played in slavery and colonialism has brought renewed attention to how universities have been implicated in these processes. The conversation with Professor Ngũgĩ is sure to generate rich and dynamic conversations about what it means to be committed to the practice of decolonization in the context of American universities given these difficult and complex histories.

The event is sponsored by the Council on African Studies, the Yale English Department, the Belo-Osagie Fund, Yale Africa Initiative, Belonging at Yale and the Charles G. Trumbull Endowed Lectureship Fund. 

Written by Marius Kothor, History PhD Candidate and CAS Graduate Affiliate.