20 March 2019 | Story Zama Feni | Photo Rulanzen Martin
Prof Henning Melber
Prof Henning Melber, taking over the editorial-ship of the Acta Academica Journal.

The newly appointed editor of the University of the Free State(UFS) journal for humanities Prof Henning Melber had vowed to give the publication a deeper insight on critical issues ranging from decolonisation of knowledge to knowledge production.

In his first editorial opinion as the new Editor of the Acta Academica journal, Prof Melber said the publication has the declared intention to apply a critical social theory perspective.

“Dedicated to scholarship in the humanities, Acta Academica will henceforth be published annually with a minimum of two issues, plus an optional additional issues per year,” he said. 

Former Editor Professor Lis Lange, previously Vice-Rector: Academic at the University of the Free State (UFS), has moved to the University of Cape Town as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning.

The journal publishes scholarly articles that examine society, culture and politics from a critical social theory perspective and it is also interested on scholarly work that examines how the humanities in the 21st century are responding to the double imperative of theorising the world and changing it.

Analysis on Africa encouraged for Acta Academica

As a journal promoting humanist values and ethics, Prof Melber stated that he would like to see Acta Academica publishing scholarly analysis and think pieces that engage with such challenges in a critical (and gendered) theoretical perspective. 

“We welcome in particular contributions that link to current themes and processes on the African continent and especially to Southern Africa, without abandoning the global context and the shared perspectives of committed
scholarship elsewhere,” he said.

Decolonisation of knowledge

“We will promote an emphasis on contributions in the fields of post-colonial, development, cultural, gender, international and African Studies aiming to support current efforts towards a decolonisation of knowledge and knowledge production. 
He said the journal will combine an international post-colonial discourse inspired by critical theory and other relevant schools of thought applied to and/or generated in a local and regional (African) context. 

“We also welcome efforts to contribute to the decolonisation of knowledge, which still to a large extent is anchored in the global asymmetries. We cannot pretend these asymmetric power relations and inherited structures do not exist.  “Nor will we be able to avoid their reproduction completely. But we can promote ownership of authors over their intellectual product and will disseminate the work as widely as possible,” he said.

New Editor calls for diversification of knowledge

In another efforts to decolonise, Prof Melber said they would also make special efforts to empower aspiring African scholars. As part of this endeavour, the UFS’s Centre for Gender and Africa Studies has for several years, been the partner institution of Africa Spectrum for the annual Young African Scholars Award

“We will try to create similar opportunities, encouraging early career scholars to submit articles. In addition, we would like to expand the character of contributions, by further diversification of forms of knowledge transmission through debate articles, reports, comments, review essays and other thought-provoking interventions. We hope to receive your support, as potential authors or as readers who contribute to or benefit from Acta Academica’s efforts to further a stimulating debate,” he said

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