Justice in Johannesburg: NSSR Professor Andrew Arato Spends Month at the University of Witwatersrand

When South Africa wrote a new, post-apartheid constitution in 1996, the world took notice as the nation produced what many called history’s most democratic governing document. South Africa provides a fitting setting for Andrew Arato, Dorothy Hart Hirshon Professor of Political and Social Theory at The New School for Social Research, to pursue his continuing research on the intersection of constitutional law and human rights.

In August, Arato taught and studied at the University of Witwatersrand School of Law in Johannesburg as the Honorary Professor and Bram Fischer Visiting Scholar. As a recipient of the honorary professorship, which is named for an Afrikaner lawyer who devoted his career to fighting apartheid, Arato focused on constitutional law and human rights studies in South Africa. Arato kicked off his term with a lecture at Witwatersrand’s Mandela Institute, entitled Conventions, Constituent Assemblies, and Round Tables: From Models to Principles of Democratic Constitution Making,, which examined recent attempts at forming democratic governments.

Arato’s work on constitutional studies has taken him to universities around the globe, including Budapest’s Central European University, Paris’s Sciences Po, and Frankfort’s Goethe University. He has stepped outside the academy to serve the U.S. State Department as Democracy Lecturer and Consultant on Nepalese constitutional issues, and the Hungarian Parliament as a consultant on constitutional issues from 1996 to 1997.