Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


S Sangmpam


Decolonization, Epistemic violence, Inaccess, Inequity, Migrated archives, Politics of knowledge production


“Towards Decolonization: Migrated Kenyan Archives and the Politics of Knowledge Production” examines ethical questions of archival removal in relation to access to knowledge and the politicization of access. Utilizing a theoretical framework of postcolonial theory, decolonial theory, and epistemic decolonization, this study investigates Kenyan archival holdings within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office files at The National Archives in London and the East African Archives at Syracuse University. Analysis of these archives is conducted using qualitative methods of archival research and interviews. This research reveals British colonial efforts to protect its reputation by migrating, concealing, and destroying archives and to preserve its imperial legacy by initiating microfilming projects overseas. This thesis argues that archival removal from Africa has resulted in epistemic violence, reproducing coloniality of knowledge production in academia and further marginalizing scholars of African studies in the Global South. This thesis suggests rethinking access to knowledge through the return of migrated archives and structural decolonization of institutions with migrated archival holdings.


Open Access



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