Conference / News

2018 International Conference on Community Psychology: An opportunity to trans-nationalize African Psychology


Bookshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (c) Kopano Ratele


The 2018 International Conference on Community Psychology will be held in Santiago, Chile. This will be the 7th edition of the ICCP.
The 2016 edition of the ICCP, organised by the University of South Africa’s Institute for Social & Health Sciences and the Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unity at the South African Medical Research Council, was held in Durban, South Africa. You can find the post announcing that Conference we wrote here.
I attended that conference. It turned out to be a very good idea. This is where I showed some of the possibilities of about how African Psychology. To be more precise I showed the potential of less shyly centring Africa in Psychology. That work, of clarifying some of the confusion about African Psychology, and presenting the possibilities of a certain way of thinking about African Psychology, has grown in leaps and bounds. You can read about some of the frequently asked questions about African Psychology here.
The ideas about this new framework on African-centred Psychology germinated in 2014, But it was from 2015 when I did my first presentation at Rhodes University, and in 2016 at ICCP, that the prospect of African Psychology as an orientation started to fill out. This deceptively simple idea, that African Psychology is a position from which to see the world, is really powerful. African Psychology is a standpoint, but more crucially a diverse set of standpoints, from which one thinks, writes, studies, heals, activates, teaches Psychology in African lecture rooms, and Africa in Psychology. Some of these orientations centre Africa and Africans, others make Africa and its people a mere site or research subjects, or place for applications. The possibilities of a reconceptualisation of African Psychology and of doing a dealineated psychology work is extensible to all branches of Psychology, such as Community Psychology.
The major question I took to the Durban conference, thrashed out in a symposium with Hugo Canham and Peace Kiguwa, was whether African psychologists and psychology students should simply go along with the themes of the dominant US-centric Community Psychology or build African-centred Psychology. Here are the other questions we asked:  How is Africa defined and studied within Community Psychology? How are local communities mapped, theorised and engaged in African-centred Psychology? Is Community Psychology as understood and advanced in South Africa really the same thing as African-centred Psychology? Is African-centred Psychology in actual fact an attempt to domesticate Community Psychology. You can find the post on that symposium here.
I hear from friends who have been to Chile, and from reading about the country and its history and contemporary struggles, it is a place worth visiting.
But that’s not the reason to go there.
Not the only reason.
I would like to go to Chile. But, even if I don’t, I urge that in the name of trans- or inter-nationalization and towards better locating Africa in global psychology, psychologists and psychology students from Africa countries should go to Chile.
For me, if I can get support, I plan to take to Santiago some of the unsettled about Africa in psychology and pychology in Africa we started in Durban. I hae few new ones as well.
Who is with me?

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