Transregional Center for Democratic Studies

Democracy & Diversity Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 7-23, 2013

Between the Past and the Future: Strategies, Shifts and Flows

We are happy to announce the successful conclusion of the 12th Democracy & Diversity Summer Institute in South Africa, which took place in Johannesburg from January 7 – 23, 2013.

The D&D Institute, organized by the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS), in partnership with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), brought together 44 participants from 13 different countries of sub-Saharan Africa, North America, and Latin America. Discussions of social justice and economic development, social rights, building democracy after violence, migrations and refugees, and the forces shaping Africa’s younger generation spilled out from our seminar rooms into study tours, guest talks, and evening events. The exceptional range of our participants’ intellectual, political, and life experiences created a robust context for never-ending conversation at breakfast, lunch, and late-night huddles in UJ’s  Sophiatown residence hall.

The responses we have been receiving from students strongly indicate that this intense encounter between young scholars, civic actors, and faculty from different backgrounds was both intellectually and personally transformative. Above all, it planted the seeds of ongoing academic collaboration and long-lasting friendships.  We are deeply grateful to our South African partners for making it possible and to all the students and faculty for their contributions.

2013 D&D participants in front of Mandela House in Soweto. PHOTO by Makhoaphe Thato Letsie


The Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at The New School for Social Research in New York is pleased to announce the 12th Democracy & Diversity Graduate Summer Institute organized by TCDS and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from January 7-23, 2013. We will again welcome up to forty junior scholars from the US, sub-Saharan Africa, and other regions of the world for this intensive three week program of study in society, culture and politics.

Building on the achievements of our 2012 Johannesburg Institute and the Cape Town Institutes (1997-2009), this year’s session in Johannesburg will offer a semester’s worth of graduate study centered on the theme Between the Past and the Future: Strategies, Shifts and Flows. The program is designed to facilitate intellectual, experiential, and practical insights into our increasingly globalized world, all while fostering new relationships between scholars usually separated by geographical circumstances.

Known as an intimate international forum for lively and rigorous debate on critical issues of democratic life, the institute brings an interdisciplinary, comparative, and highly interactive approach to the social, political, and cultural changes facing today’s world. Core faculty from The New School for Social Research will co-teach seminars with distinguished South African scholars and will be joined by numerous guest speakers. Upon completion of the institute, New School participants receive full course credits and non-New School participants receive certificates of completion.

Johannesburg, the intellectual, economic and cultural hub of South Africa and the gateway to the rest of Africa, provides a stimulating setting for the 12th Democracy & Diversity Institute. Drawing on Johannesburg’s cultural and political significance, and TCDS’s network of collaborators, the Institute promises a strong and innovative program on the state of the world, reflecting our ongoing commitment to critical inquiry and dialogue.


“Youth, Justice and Generations in Africa” (GLIB 5837, CRN 7788)
Hylton White – University of the Witwatersrand, Anthropology
Nafisa Essop Sheik – University of Johannesburg, History
Edith Phaswana – University of Johannesburg, Development Studies

“In Search of the Political: Migrants, Refugees, Citizens” (GANT 6111, CRN 7787)
Miriam Ticktin – The New School for Social Research, Anthropology
Jacob Dlamini – University of Barcelona

“Romancing Violence: Theories and Practices of Political Violence” (GSOC 5051, CRN 7789)
Elzbieta Matynia – The New School for Social Research, Sociology and Liberal Studies
Shireen Hassim – University of the Witwatersrand, Political Studies

“Shifting Power in the Global Economy: Rethinking Development Strategies” (GECO 6360, CRN 7790)
Teresa Ghilarducci – The New School for Social Research, Economics
Richard McGahey – The New School for Public Engagement, Public Policy and Economics
David Moore – University of Johannesburg, Development Studies
Stephen Gelb – University of Johannesburg, Economics and Econometrics

Please view the complete course descriptions. 

Extracurricular Activities

The seminars and lectures at the Johannesburg Institute were complemented by study tours in and around the city that highlighted the history of apartheid and resistance, the transition to democracy, the challenges facing democratic South Africa, and the problems of urbanized Africa. Sites and institutions that were visited included the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, Freedom Square, the Hector Pieterson Museum and SoWeTo, the Cradle of Humankind, the inner city of Johannesburg – the Central Business District – as well as the Yeoville neighborhood, referred to as the Afropolitan center of Joburg.

A series of evening talks and meetings complemented the curriculum confronting the major issues of the day in a specifically South African context. Speakers included: Adila Hassim (a human-rights lawyer working with Section 27), Anton Harber (a professor of journalism at the University of Witwatersrand and a co-founder of the Globe and Mail), Liza Key (South African film maker, the director of the Rewind), and Bishop Paul Verryn of Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg.

Accommodation in Johannesburg
Participants were housed in modest, single rooms with shared bathrooms in the UJ Sophiatown student residence, named for the emblematic African neighborhood in Johannesburg. The dormitory is located in the heart of Melville, just steps from UJ’s Auckland Park Kingsway Campus and in close proximity to the University of the Witwatersrand.


We look forward to welcoming you in Johannesburg in January 2014!


For further information, contact TCDS by email at, keep checking our blog for updates or follow us on Facebook.


The New School for Social Research
6 East 16th St., Rm 921, NY, NY 10003
212-229-5100 ext. 3136

Elzbieta Matynia, Director
212-229-5580 ext. 3137

Lala Pop, Program Manager,
PhD Student, Politics
212-229-5100 ext. 3136

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