Dismantling the Ivory Tower: Applying Scholarship to’ Present African Realities and Needs

JOOUST held its inaugural Virtual Public Lecture themed “Dismantling the Ivory Tower: Applying Scholarship to Present African Realities and Needs.” The public lecture by Professor Austin Bukenya was a timely seminal intervention in current discourses on the contextual responsiveness or otherwise of postcolonial African scholarship.

While officially opening the discourse, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stephen Agong’, noted that this was indeed a very timely event as it was a wakeup call to universities to demystify the theory that they were unreachable towers. “This is the first virtual lecture held by the university, we look forward to many more such discourse to be able to learn and interact with scholars and students alike.” Noted Prof Agong’.

Prof. Bukenya delved into the intrigues of this debate calling for social sense and a delicate balance between Adili and Akili (ethics and Skills) in scholarship in pursuit of knowledge that has a sustainable impact on the society. In order to achieve this, he argued, the academia needs to descend from the ivory tower and adopt a down-to-earth demeanour he dubbed the “gown and town” approach with the public intellectual as the ultimate ideal. Prof. Bukenya advocated for the urgent need to bridge the rigid disciplinary divide between the Sciences and Humanities for the posterity of the society. In a clarion call to institutions of higher learning to take up their rightful place in research, Prof. Bukenya wrapped up the lecture with the remark “No university ever became famous for teaching undergraduates”.

The convener of the public lecture was Prof. Joseph Bosire, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, who praised the School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences(SEHSS) for setting the tone. He urged the other Schools to follow suit, while saying that this was the first of many more to come. The event was organized by Dr. Jack Ajowi, Dean SEHSS, Dr. Emily Ondondo, Associate Dean SEHSS, Dr. Juliet Jagero, COD LLCS and Dr. James Ogone. It was moderated by Dr. John Obiero Ogone.