Racial question and intellectual production in South Africa: a critical response to Ivan Evans

21 Dec 2006

In his provocative piece Ivan Evans brings to attention the gross inequalities in the racial distribution of knowledge production in South Africa. In so doing he shifts attention from the much-belaboured writings on the racist nature of social research and the political obstacles to doing research under apartheid. For Evans, "the central proposition is that active steps have to be taken to reverse the subordinate and uninfluential role of black intellectuals in shaping the intellectual life of South Africa". However important readers may judge Evans' contribution, I wish to identify five important limitations in his argument and simultaneously use these observations as a platform from which to point to a more critical agenda for research on intellectual production in South Africa.