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Theorising Race

Imagining Possibilities

Kira Erwin and Gerhard Maré

This special issue emerges from a concern with academic practice around researching and theorising race, racialism and racism; particularly within the current theoretical climate in which race is, in the majority, accepted as a social construct. In public thinking and discourse, however, acceptance of the biological existence of races continues to dominate in many societies. Racial classification also continues in many state practices in South Africa such as the collection of racial demographics though the national census, and through countless private and public officials reporting towards government-stipulated race-based employment acts. These classification practices raise contradictions for the constitutional goal of non-racialism in South Africa. South Africa has also signed and ratified the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Professional Interest/Pages/CERD.aspx), which aims to eliminate racial discrimination in member states. The convention, to which member states are legally bound, raises a number of pressing issues that, to date, are not present in a wider national debate on the continued use of race in South African state policy. For example, there is little recognition by the state of the difficulties associated with identifying a targeted group based on race, nor clarity as to whether these groups are identified through markers based on phenotype, or socio-economic or cultural differences. Nor is there open discussion on the use of terms such as fair and unfair discrimination and how they relate to terms such as distinction and differentiation (see Bossuyt 2000), and the legal consequences of using such terms.

Open access

Joel Modiri

This article sets out a few key questions, themes, and problems animating an Azanian social and political philosophy, with specific reference to the radical promise of undoing South African disciplinary knowledges. The article is made up of two parts: The first part discusses the epistemic and political forces arrayed against black radical thought in South Africa and beyond. A few current trends of anti-black thinking – liberal racism, Left Eurocentrism, and postcolonial post-racialism – which pose challenges for the legibility of Azanian critique are outlined. Part two constructs an exposition and synthesis of key tenets of Azanian thinking elaborated upon under three signs: ‘South Africa’, ‘race and racism’, and ‘Africa’. The aim of the discussion is to illustrate the critical, emancipatory potential of Azanian thought and its radical incommensurability with dominant strands of scholarship in the human and social sciences today. The article ultimately defends the reassertion of black radical thought in the South African academy today and underscores in particular the abolitionist drive of Azanian political thought.

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For Us, By Us

Towards a More Just Philosophical Community

Bryan Mukandi

This article examines the Australian ‘Continental Philosophy’ community through the lens of the Azanian philosophical tradition. Specifically, it interrogates the series of conversations around race and methodology that arose from the 2017 Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP) conference. At the heart of these were questions of place, race, Indigeneity, and the very meaning of ‘Continental Philosophy’ in Australia. The pages that follow pursue those questions, grappling with the relationship between the articulation of disciplinary bounds and the exercise of colonial power. Having struggled with the political and existential cost of participation in the epistemic community that is the ASCP, I argue for disengagement and the exploration of alternative intellectual communities. This is ultimately a call to intellectual work grounded on ethical relations rather than on the furtherance of the status quo. It is a call to take seriously the claim, ‘the land is ours’.

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Resist and Revivify

Democratic Theory in a Time of Defiance

Jean-Paul Gagnon and Emily Beausoleil

race, color, wealth or degree of culture,” as these actions betrayed “the democratic way of life” ([1939] 1998: 342) as Dewey understood it. But what he found even more dangerous than open, state-sanctioned coercion against specific groups of people was

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Marie Paxton and Uğur Aytaç

designing procedures), it is my contention that Bateman does not fully acknowledge the way in which political participation is affected by age, gender, race, class, education, and time. Indeed, certain of Bateman's proposals, such as to use activist leaders

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Reflecting on Fifty Years of Democratic Theory

Carole Pateman in Conversation with Graham Smith

Carole Pateman and Graham Smith

book; I never rewrite my work. But if I wrote something similar now, I would bring in not only feminism but also critical race studies. After nearly fifty years it is only to be expected that it would be a very different book. Smith: Going back to

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SimonMary Aihiokhai, Lorina Buhr, David Moore, and William Jethro Mpofu

the property of the human family of the world and not a monopoly of one race and a preserve of one geographic location. The book is rendered in lucid prose that is transparent and simple without being simplistic. William Jethro Mpofu University of

Open access

Ian Moll

spatial inequalities in and between cities … disparities have grown, suburbs have been re-sorted into a wide array on the basis of class and race’ ( Nijman and Wei 2020: 2 ). Widespread disillusionment with this growing inequality threatens the basic

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Marcos S. Scauso, Garrett FitzGerald, Arlene B. Tickner, Navnita Chadha Behera, Chengxin Pan, Chih-yu Shih, and Kosuke Shimizu

democracy visible opens space for more substantive consideration of how these equalities and inequities cut across the axes of race, gender, class, and other constructed categories coimbricated within the legacies of coloniality. Subsequently, we explore

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Editorial

Some Senses of Pan-Africanism from the South

Christopher Allsobrook

argues that one cannot presume shared values and African solidarity in such a gigantic land of complex ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. He warns against simplistic bigotry in calls for race-based Pan-African unity, which exacerbate