Biotechnology and Legal Regulation: Personal Freedom, Risk Management and Human Dignity

The regulation of biotechnology is determined by a number of often conflicting legal values and social-economic interests. Human dignity, freedom of research, the right to family life and the right of health inspire regulatory models in the field of bio-medicine and reproduction techniques. Scientifically corroborated risk assessment and interest free trade competes with social-economic considerations … [Read more]

Urbanization and health in Africa

“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” is the 11th goal of the draft Sustainable Development Goals.  Urbanization is now recognized as a dominant feature of global development with wide and growing inequalities within cities as a major threat to improving well-being globally.  Urban inequalities are ubiquitous, with slums and exclusive high-income … [Read more]

On Social Meaning – Ernst Cassirer, Cornelius Castoriadis and Philosophical-Rhetorical Anthropology

In rhetorical theory, the question of how meaning is produced has traditionally been dealt with in terms of the intentions of the orator to influence her or his audience through speech. Today, it seems necessary to complement and to a certain extent rework this traditional notion. The theories of generation of meaning in typical rhetorical … [Read more]

Systems biology studies on plant desiccation tolerance for food security

Drought is the single greatest threat to world agriculture (FAO, 2008) and this is predicted to be increasingly exacerbated by the effects of global climate change. At present 11.6% (14.2 Mha) of South Africa is suitable for current agricultural practises (Dregne et al., 1991) and data analysis of global warming trends propose that by 2050 … [Read more]

The transition to Green Economy: Africa’s leapfrogging opportunity

Africa is currently recognized as the fastest growing region in the world while a number of African countries are listed amongst the fastest growing economies in the region over the last decade. Given the early stage of development and the relatively abundant renewable resource endowment of the region, Africa is also said to be the … [Read more]

How did Homo sapiens become Homo docens? On the evolution of social learning and teaching during the Paleolithic

The purpose of the project is to analyse why teaching has evolved only in the line leading to Homo sapiens. This will be done by combining theoretical models with an analysis of archaeological material, primarily material from South Africa. The theoretical part of the work views teaching and language as two forms of cooperation. Current research … [Read more]

Modernity and Modernism in Everyday Life – South Africa and Australia in the Twentieth Century

How do we live? How does our immediate infrastructure work, as house, and home? The worlds we inhabit have older historic contours, but much of our lived world today is made by postwar modernism. We speak easily of Fordism, in public life, but there is also something parallel, like domestic modernism, in the home. In … [Read more]

Understanding Non-Contractual Obligations: Unjust Enrichment and the Law of Torts in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Whereas the European and South African law of contracts is today seen as normatively integrated part of the law of obligations that can be explained coherently on the basis of an overarching theory or a set of intellectually related principles, the rest of the law of obligations is apparently still understood as resulting from various … [Read more]

Multifunctionality in managed grassland systems: Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Grassland systems have been in focus for a long time due to their ecological, socioeconomic and cultural importance. If moderately managed, these grasslands may increase the multifunctionality of rural landscapes by harbouring extraordinary high biodiversity and at the same time providing numerous ecosystem services like meat production, carbon sequestration, and different cultural values. Grasslands are … [Read more]

Cape Town’s Creole Songs, Nederlandsliedjies and moppies

Following up on the publication of Sounding the Cape, Music, Identity and Politics in South Africa ( African Minds, Somerset West, 2013) researched and published with support by STIAS, this project will focus on two song repertoires emblematic of Cape Town’s music: the Moppies (or comic songs) and the Nederlandslierdjies. My 2015 STIAS fellowship will … [Read more]