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Peter Vale

Higher education reform has a particular character in the United Kingdom as Stefan Collini points out in his book, What are universities for? Margaret Thatcher's assault on social institutions put the university, as an institution for the common good, under particular economic pressure. As a result, British-oriented higher education systems world- the legacy of Empire - have suffered similar mounting pressures. This includes South Africa where the debate has been strongly influenced by the idea that university, in the name of democracy, should be more accountable and transparent. But, this purported shift towards openness masks the powerful hold of market-driven economics on the contemporary university and poses a threat to its immediate purpose and the long-term future of higher education.

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Art of Solidarity

Cuban Posters for African Liberation 1967–1989

David Fleming

Art of Solidarity is an exhibition bursting with color, opinion, and attitude. It is therefore perfectly sited at Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum (ISM), created 10 years ago with the intention of campaigning against racism and other forms of human rights abuses. Since its foundation in 2007, the ISM—home of the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM)—has featured exhibitions on imperialism; prostitution; domestic servitude; life in Sierra Leone; modern slavery in India; child migrants; apartheid in South Africa; cricket and its relationships to culture, class, and politics; the race riots in Liverpool in 1981; the iniquities of the cotton industry; the oil industry in West Africa; human trafficking; and so on.

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George A. Martinez, Maresi Nerad and Elizabeth Rudd

This workshop report summarises the potentially far-reaching deliberations and results of a conference of experts in doctoral education from around the world. The conference was organised jointly by the U.S. Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education (CIRGE) at the University of Washington, Seattle and the German International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER) at the University of Kassel. Participants discussed critical issues in the globalisation of doctoral education, including global inequalities, diversity in types of students and modes of study, and intellectual risk-taking, and they sought to develop proposals for policy. The focus of the conference was on the research doctorate. This essay reports on the activities, discussions, and conclusions of the workshop. One of the task forces illustrated issues in the intellectual risk-taking faced by graduates by performing a highly realistic vignette written by a South African professor. We begin our workshop report with this vignette as a way to begin to frame the key issues.

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Marja Spierenburg, Conrad Steenkamp and Harry Wels

The Great Limpopo is one of the largest Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in the world, encompassing vast areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The TFCA concept is embraced by practically all (international) conservation agencies. The rationale for the support is that the boundaries of ecosystems generally do not overlap with those of the nation-state. Their protection requires transnational cooperation. By arguing that local communities living in or close to TFCAs will participate and benefit economically, TFCA proponents claim social legitimacy for the project. However, analysis shows that communities first have to live up to rigid standards and requirements set by the international conservation authorities, before they are considered ‘fit’ to participate. Communities attempt to resist this type of marginalization by forming alliances with (inter)national development and human rights NGOs, with mixed results.

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Margaret Litvin

To my knowledge, this is the first essay collection in any language to be devoted to Arab appropriations of Shakespeare. Studies of international Shakespeare appropriation have mushroomed over the past fifteen to twenty years. Excitement began to build in the 1990s, as several lines of academic inquiry converged. Translation theorists found in Shakespeare’s plays a convenient (because widely known and prestigious) test case. Scholars in performance studies, having noted how sharply local context could influence a play’s staging and interpretation, saw a need to account for ‘intercultural’ performances of Shakespeare in various languages and locales. Marxist scholars became interested in the fetishisation of Shakespeare as a British cultural icon which, in turn, was used to confer cultural legitimacy on the project of capitalist empire-building. Scholars of postcolonial drama and literature explored how the periphery responded. The ‘new Europe’ provided another compelling set of examples. All this scholarship has developed quickly and with a great sense of urgency. Shakespeareans in many countries have contributed. By now there is a rich bibliography on Shakespeare appropriation in India, China, Japan, South Africa, Israel and many countries in Latin America and Eastern and Western Europe.

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Black Solidarity

A Philosophical Defense

Mabogo P. More

How should black people, indeed any other group of people in general, respond when they are grouped together and oppressed on the basis of the contingency of their physical characteristics? Questions of liberation from oppression involve questions about the means to overcome that oppression. Throughout the ages of struggle against racial oppression, for example, collective black identity and solidarity has been one of the favourite responses and rallying call for racial justice and liberation. In South Africa this response has recently emerged through the formation of a number of highly controversial groups such as: The Native Club, The African Forum, and The Forum for Black Journalists. Critics of these formations think that such black solidarity, divisive, irrational, morally objectionable and, above all, racist. This paper defends the emancipatory racial solidarity tradition, examplified by The Native Club and similar constituted organisations, against such serious charges and critiques mounted by contemporary leading thinkers on identity. The tools for such a defense are primarily derived from Jean-Paul Sartre's conception of group formation in his Critique Of Dialectical Reason. I argue that since anti-black racist consciousness always operates at the level of collectives, it is therefore impossible to fight such racism as an individual; that collective black solidarity is a necessary condition for racial emancipation.

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From Religious Transcendence to Political Utopia

The Legacy of Richard Turner for Post-Apartheid Political Thought

Laurence Piper

In recent times South African politics has come to exhibit features typical of many post-colonial contexts, not least the rise of acrimonious and confrontational politics based around personalities and forms of populism. In such contexts rational dialogue and democratic deliberation become increasingly difficult to get going and to sustain. Drawing on Richard Turner's The Eye of the Needle, first published some forty years ago, the paper examines the role religion, and religious organisations, could play in returning such acrimonious public debate to more democratic and visionary grounds. The key point is that religion offers a form of transcendence from the divisive and bitter particularities that animate contemporary political conflicts. It does this through the spiritual affirmation of our shared human worth due to the love of God(s). From this recognition, achieved through spiritual appeals, the conditions for more rational and democratic debate can be retrieved. In addition, religious transcendence redeems the value of utopian thinking, and thus could help re-orientate public debate from a politics of blame for past wrongs to a politics of imagining of future rights.

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This issue of Theoria marks a decade of democracy in South Africa. Invited to reflect on the process and challenge of building a modern liberal democracy and on progress towards social justice since 1994, the contributors have responded with detailed and in-depth analyses of a range of pertinent issues, from public institutions, national reform strategies, popular perceptions and moral responsibility to philosophical ideals, educational reforms, political participation and unrepudiated injustices. Beyond apartheid, beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and beyond party politics, greater and more inclusive social justice, if not immediately within reach, is certainly attainable: through the equalization and redistribution of access to resources, through reparations for injustices, through respect for rights and recognition of obligations, through compromise, sympathy, socialization and debate, and through making sense of change, both symbolically and practically. Most of all, justice will be served, and democracy advanced, by promoting, widening and multiplying spaces and opportunities for people to conceptualize and act upon social transformation in new and different ways.

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Kevin Hopkins and Christopher Roederer

In trying to come to grips with what is involved in righting the wrongs of apartheid, we begin by pointing out unique challenges posed by societies in transition. It is our position that the pursuit of justice is not the same in transitional contexts as it is in stable democracies. As we shall see, the transitional domain throws up several non-standard obstacles in the way of fulfilling the imperatives of justice. After this introduction to justice in transitions we will look more closely at the relationship between justice and law in the context of political transformation generally, and the specific relationship between justice and international human rights law in this transformative process. Thereafter we will address the pursuit of justice in respect of both apartheid’s perpetrators as well as its victims—the discussion will, however, be limited to the liability of those who fall outside the scope of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) mandate. In that regard, we will deal with violations of rights not specifically covered by the TRC: odious apartheid debt owed to international legal entities; other debt incurred by the apartheid state to private money-lending institutions; the violation of international labour standards in the apartheid state; and the unjust enrichment of foreign corporations at the expense of black South Africans.

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Antony Polonsky

Antony Polonsky has just completed a three-volume history The Jews in Poland and Russia Volume 1, 1350–1881; Volume 2, 1881–1914 (Oxford, 2010); Volume 3, 1914–2008 (Oxford, 2012). In 2011, the book was awarded the Kulczycki Prize of the American Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies for the best book in any discipline on any aspect of Polish affairs, and in 2012, it won the Pro historia Polonorum prize by the Senate of the Republic of Poland for the best book on Polish history in a foreign language published in the last five years. This article describes how the book came to be written, describing the influence of the author's youth in apartheid South Africa, his decision to study the history of twentieth century Poland and his involvement with the Solidarity Movement. As one of the organisers of the conferences in the 1980s and as principal editor of Polin: Studies in Polish-Jewry, he has been at the centre of the developments which have transformed our understanding of the Polish-Jewish past and Polish-Jewish relations. The article describes how he came to write his three-volume history and what he hoped to achieve in this way.