Regimes of literacy as regimes of truth about Africa: language ideologies and southern voices

Ashraf Abdalhay, Cristine Severo, Sinfree Makoni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter we discuss and problematize the colonial and contemporary connections between regimes of literacy—including ideologies of writing—and regimes of truth about Africa. This means considering the process of knowledge production, dissemination and reception as politically and economically controlled, contributing to a continuous remodeling of power relations. By situating our arguments in African colonial contexts, we explore the role played by ideologies of literacy, mainly centered on the alphabetic script, in defining what counts as language—taken as fixed and named codes-, which consequently shaped the ideological beliefs about the nature of knowledge production and knowledge transmission which is carried out via extant codes. This chapter is on literacy in Africa, colonial regime of literacy, regime of truth, authorship, standpoint, politics of knowledge production, oral tradition, politics of citation and editorial politics. The bigger proposition we are making goes beyond simply identifying insights in Africa; rather, we seek to understand how such insights affected the nature of literacy in the Global Norths as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Education
Subtitle of host publicationFourth Edition
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128186299
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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