Law(s), Land and Women in the context of South Africa’s past, present and future

Mon, 2017-06-12 13:00
Nolundi Luwaya from the Centre for Law and Society, UCT, will present the Sociology Series lecture with a talk entitled,  "Law(s), Land and Women in the context of South Africa’s past, present and future".  Abstract: My seminar presentation aims to engage with the broader questions of the appropriateness of current legal interventions in securing the land tenure rights of rural South Africans, particularly black women living in rural areas. I aim to do this by grappling with laws role in constructing ideas of customary land tenure, the bantustans (former homelands) and black women’s status under ‘official’ African Customary Law. The discussion of this architecture goes on to inform an analysis of the current legal interventions which are then juxtaposed with practice and adaptations emerging from rural communities. The presentation concludes with some questions and remarks about the role, ability (and appropriateness) of law to (de)construct in order to protect the land tenure rights of black women in rural South Africa.   Nolundi Luwaya returned to the Centre for Law and Society as a researcher in 2017. She has a BA (English, Sociology and Law) and an LLB from the University of Cape Town. In 2012 she joined the Law, Race and Gender Unit (LRG) as a junior researcher where she worked on the Unit’s campaign on the Traditional Courts Bill. The LRG then became the Centre for Law and Society and from  2013 – 2015 Nolundi was the Programme Coordinator of the Rural Women’s Action Research Programme (RWAR) based within CLS. In this position she worked extensively with rural community based organisations and NGO’s on issues connected to citizenship rights, land rights and nuanced understandings of Customary Law within our Constitutional Democracy. In 2016 the RWAR became the Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC) where Nolundi was the Deputy Director. Her work at LARC focussed on providing support to the Alliance for Rural Democracy, a loose alliance of community based organisations and NGO’s working on issues of land and traditional governance impacting on the rights of rural South Africans. Nolundi has a particular interest in the struggles and strategies of women living in rural South Africa, and in what these strategies for transforming their particular circumstances can teach us about transformation and change on a societal level. - See more at:  

Langebaanweg, a fresh perspective: Sedimentology and taphonomy of test pit excavations

Tue, 2017-06-06 13:00
Brigette Cohen will present the Department of Archaeology seminar with a talk entitled,  "Langebaanweg, a fresh perspective: Sedimentology and taphonomy of test pit excavations".  She will summarise work done for her PhD

Global National Populist Movements and Moments: Xenophobia in South Africa

Tue, 2017-06-06 13:00
Herman Wasserman and Tanja Bosch will present a paper on "Global National Populist Movements and Moments: Xenophobia in South Africa". In 1994, South Africa became a new nation after the country’s first democratic elections and inaugurated as the 'Rainbow Nation' by Nelson Mandela, representing a fundamental shift in the social, political and geographical landscapes of the past. But in recent years, the resurgence of a new wave of ethnic ‘nationalism’ has resulted in a narrow racist and xenophobic articulation of the nation, with the ‘other’ (foreigner) subjected to high levels of violence. While violence and discrimination against foreign African nationals was a feature of the pre-apartheid landscape, xenophobia increased sharply in the post-1994 era. Not only have these conflicts been experienced by the numerous victims and perpetrators; they have been mediated affairs for many, especially in 2008 and 2015. While conflicts often began in one part of the country, they spread rapidly partly as a result of the reporting of these events. Graphic images of violent attacks on foreign Africans included photographs of knife- and stick-wielding perpetrators, injured victims, burning shops and houses. Previous research has shown that South Africans hold strong negative views towards migrants, and that the mainstream media, while coming under increased scrutiny post-Apartheid, often fuel the conflict with inflammatory language and biased coverage.  This paper explores the role of the media in the xenophobic violence, sharing data from a quantitative content analysis of print media, as well as interviews with journalists and activists. Moreover, the paper reflects on the rise of xenophobic violence within the global context of the rise of ‘new nationalisms’. Eats will be available in A205 from 12h30   

Saving the Saviours? Confronting Conservation's Underbellies

Fri, 2017-06-02 12:45
The Environmental Humanities South invites you to the seminar entitled,  "Saving the Saviours? Confronting Conservation's Underbellies". This seminar will be presented by  Frank Matose (Sociology and Environmental Humanities South, UCT) Bram Büscher (Sociology of Development and Change group, Wageningen University) Maano Ramutsindela (Environmental and Geographical Science, UCT) It is in the interest of conservation to engage honestly with its dark sides. We take the South African rhino-poaching crisis as a specific example to discus why this is crucial to move conservation forward.  Protected areas around the world are understood by society as the fruits of conservation efforts, often championed by individuals and organizations concerned with saving nature from all kinds of threats. This makes conservation appear like a benign affair; yet the history of conservation is replete with the systematic removal and killing of people, corruption, violence and other forms of dubious power-play. This is obviously not peculiar to conservation, but often deliberately hidden for fears of damaging conservation’s altruistic ideals, visions and (self-)image. We caution that by not confronting these underbellies openly, conservation risks many things, including its public legitimacy but also opportunities for learning and potential improvement. In this panel we aim to confront the question of what conservation could do in order to make these discussions more common and open.     

Don Juan, Faust and Western Modernity

Fri, 2017-05-26 15:00
Roberto Gigliucci (La Sapienza, Rome) will be presenting the Graduate Research Seminar Series, School of Languages and Literatures, with a talk entitled, "Don Juan, Faust and Western Modernity".  Abstract: This seminar concerns the two myths of Don Giovanni and Faust as paradigms of western modernity. Both the characters are joined by the mood of despair. But in the case of Don Giovanni the refusal of every kind of metaphysics is neat and lucid, and the involvement in the physical reality – as the only possible one – is enthusiastic and full of vitality. On the other hand, for Faustus by Marlowe the despair is a conscience of an exclusion from the beatitude and salvation (gorgeously symbolized by the river of Christ’s blood that inundates the heaven), and this desperation is evident just in the first monologue of the play. Any case, the two characters are masks of modernity, perceived as spirit of doubt, desire of sensual delight and of knowledge, but with an insatiable tension towards something of sparkling and ephemeral. The representation of punishment is an exquisitely theatrical element, a sort of a grand and stupefying stage machinery, which yet doesn’t elude definitely the central issue: the situation of modern man in his new solitude, far from heaven, far from the transcendent, far from God, looking at a sky where the stars are only celestial bodies in a world mathematically organized. So, the history of Don Giovanni coincides with the history of modernity, from the first decades of XVIIth century, with the remarkable contribution of Italy, to the crucial refoundation of the myth by Molière, to the dramas and melodramas of the XVIIIth Century and finally to the supreme investigation on Don Giovanni’ ambiguity in the opera by Mozart. Afterwards we observe a kind of fragmentation of the character of Don Giovanni, up to the demystifying plays and novels of the late modernity. The case of Faust is different: with the impressive re-elaborate version of the story in the colossal work by Goethe we find a reconstructed harmony, a labyrinth that ends with the deliverance and a mystic triumph. It is a compromise which shall be not so lucky in the future sensibility, and the shadow of old Faustus shall reappear anxiously. Bio: Roberto Gigliucci (M.A., Ph.D) studied Italian at “Sapienza” University of Rome, where has working as Assistant Professor since 2005 and now as Associate Professor of Italian Literature. His research topics are in the field of: Medieval and early-modern Italian literature; Renaissance and Baroque literature, music and drama; Twentieth-century Italian prose, poetry and criticism. His research interests include: The analysis of literary themes, amongst which “death”; The rhetoric of love; The concept of “Melancholy” and its development through the centuries; The icons of Baroque lyric poetry related to the birth of Modernity; Paradox, oxymoron, antithesis, and evidentia (hypotyposis) in ancient and modern literature.

Dante’s starlings and the object of poetry

Mon, 2017-05-29 17:30
Peter R. Anderson and Mara Boccaccio will present "Dante's starlings and the object of poetry" in celebration of Dante Alighieri day

The “Dark Side”: Popular Politics and the Question of Democratic Violence

Wed, 2017-06-07 13:00
Dr Ruchi Chaturvedi, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, will present the Department of Religious Studies seminar with a talk entitled, "The “Dark Side”: Popular Politics and the Question of Democratic Violence".   Ruchi Chaturvedi received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University and an M. Phil in Sociology from University of Delhi. She has taught at the City University of New York and Makerere Institute of Social Research. Ruchi’s research focuses on questions of political violence, popular politics and its contentious relationship with the ideology and institutions of liberal democracy. Her writings have revolved around a long-running violent conflict between local level political workers of the Marxist Left and Hindu Right in Kerala, South India.  This presentation revolves around community protests and violent contests between members of various political groups in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Central to it is what Partha Chatterjee as well as Karl von Holdt, Langa et al. describe as the “dark side” of political society and insurgent citizenship: namely, the often-times collective and sometimes individualized violence that has characterized popular and party politics in various postcolonial states. I read this violence through critiques of liberal equality and democracy articulated especially in the Nigerian political theorist Claude Ake’s work, and in the historian Ajay Skaria’s analysis of Gandhi’s writings. Seen through these lenses, the violent dark side of political society and insurgent citizenship comes into view as an aspect of a shared postcolonial democratic inheritance. I describe the relationship between this modern democratic inheritance, the modes of enacting and organizing power that have emerged in its wake, and collective and inter-party violence. I conclude with the problem of recasting this democratic bequest that haunts Ake’s analysis as much as it does Gandhi’s.

Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East

Wed, 2017-05-24 18:00
Adam Hanieh, from the school of African Studies, University of London, will present a talk for the Centre for Contemporary Islam (CCI) in collaboration with the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC), entitled, "Lineages of Revolt:  Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East". In his book, Adam explores neoliberal policies, dynamics of class and state formation, imperialism and the nature of regional accumulation, the significance of Palestine and the Gulf Arab states, and the ramifications of the global economic crisis. By mapping the complex and contested nature of capitalism in the Middle East, the book demonstrates that a full understanding of the uprisings needs to go beyond a simple focus on “dictators and democracy.” Adam Hanieh is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at the school of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Prior to joining SOAS, Adam taught at Zayed University, United Arab Emirates. From 1997-2003, he worked in the NGO and public sectors in Ramallah, Palestine, where he completed an MA in Regional Studies at Al Quds University. He holds a PhD in Political Science from York University, Canada (2009). Adam is an editorial board member of the journal Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory, a founding member of the SOAS Centre for Palestine Studies, and a member of the committee of Management for the Council for British Research in the Levant. His most recent book is Capitalism and class in the Gulf Arab States