Johannesburg 2013 — Course Descriptions


Shifting Power in the Global Economy: Rethinking Development Strategies (GECO 6360, CRN 7790)

Teresa Ghilarducci – NSSR, Economics

Richard McGahey – NSPE, Public Policy and Economics

David Moore – UJ, Development Studies

Stephen Gelb – UJ, Economics and Econometrics

This course examines the implications for developing economies, especially in Africa, of the emergence of China and India as major economic forces and the shift in the global economic power towards them, which has accelerated since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008. The first part of the course will examine the factors behind the high growth rates in China since the 1980s and India since the 1990s, and assess the effects on global markets for goods, services, finance and labour, on global economic governance and on Africa’s trade and investment relations. The second part of the course will examine alternative development strategies which may be enabled by the emergence of China and India, but whose prospects are affected by the global crisis. These strategies include the promotion of natural resource exports, the expansion of inward foreign direct investment and foreign aid, participation in global value chains, increased use of regional trade agreements and governance reforms.


Romancing Violence: Theories and Practices of Political Violence (GSOC 5051, CRN 7789)

Elzbieta Matynia – NSSR, Sociology and Liberal Studies

Shireen Hassim – University of the Witswatersrand, Political Studies

Far from receding with the rise of liberal democracies worldwide, violence appears to be enjoying a spectacular rebound , from the wave of revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East to dramatic acts of individual terror in Norway. In this course we explore classical theoretical propositions concerning the role of violence in bringing about social and political change , from Marx, through Weber, Lenin, Gramsci, Arendt, and Benjamin, to more recent thinkers like Foucault, Derrida, Zizek, and Michnik. We will look at different types of political violence and their specific instances, and revisit Arendt’s well-known distinction between the justifiability and the legitimacy of violence. Conscious of the traditional forms of political violence – wars, revolutions, and armed struggle movements, we will pay attention to the forms and consequences of structural violence, but also examine the forms of cultural and symbolic violence, such as language that routinely serves to legitimize violence. Mindful of Foucault’s work on the body as the key subject of power we will explore the continuities between social regulation of bodies and intimate relationships, and expressions of violence in the public sphere. We will look at the body as the quintessential marker of boundaries, from those of nation-states and communities, to the range of violent political acts that escape the public gaze. While our approach will be primarily historical and comparative, we will also use phenomenological perspectives to explore ideas and practices generated in different parts of the world.


Youth, Justice and Generations in Africa (GLIB 5837, CRN 7788)

Hylton White – University of the Witswatersrand, Anthropology

Nafisa Essop Sheik – University of Johannesburg, History

Edith Phaswana – University of Johannesburg, Development Studies

Precarious times produce intense debates about the nature and the limits of solidarity. This course will focus on arguments about generations and social solidarity in Africa, a continent where histories of crisis have often led to concerns with ‘youth’  and the fraught position of young people in emerging forms of order, integration and exclusion. Drawing on examples from the past as well as the postcolonial present, we look at the sorts of arguments that Africans have made about the changing place of young people in the organization of livelihoods and political communities, and discuss what light these arguments might bring to new concerns about precarious life and intergenerational justice in other parts of the world.


In Search of the Political: Migrants, Refugees, Citizens (GANT 6111, CRN 7787)

Miriam Ticktin – NSSR, Anthropology

Jacob Dlamini – University of Barcelona

Building on Etienne Balibar’s statement that immigrants are “today’s proletarians,” we will use the case of immigrants and refugees to examine what “politics” and “the political” mean today. We will cover theory by figures such as Hannah Arendt, Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière and Ivor Chipkin; and we will read ethnographies, political tracts and watch films about immigration, asylum and citizenship around the world, and the struggles against racism and for recognition, equality and justice. As part of this exploration, we will examine the logics of human rights, and humanitarian aid, and think about these in relation to the political.