Projects

Basic questions of ethics

Today ethics have to be formulated for pluralistic societies that encompass a variety of religions and worldviews including the “secular option”. Whereas former secularization theories included the assumption that in modern societies only secular forms of ethics are of general importance, according to a pluralistic theory of society religious ethics have to be included as … [Read more]

The scientific method in biology and biomedicine

Philosophers tend to explain the success of the scientific enterprise in terms of a so-called “scientific method” believed to be typical of physics and chemistry. In the second half of the twentieth century, it has become widely accepted that biology, i.e. the science of living organisms, is characterized by an inherent complexity that requires the … [Read more]

The Pitfalls of Reductionism in Vaccine Research

Reductionism has been the predominant research strategy of molecular and structural biology in the 20th century.  According to Francis Crick (1966):«The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is to explain all of biology in terms of physics and chemistry». It is now realized that a complex biological system like the immune system possesses … [Read more]

Xenophobia, Migrancy and Multiculturalism

Different causes and expressions of xenophobia are analysed by comparing three countries: South Africa, Germany and Canada. On a spectrum of rejection of migrants, South Africa is situated at one extreme, with Germany in the middle, and Canada at the other extreme. In each country, different rationalizations are used for ‘othering’ and different policies have … [Read more]

Regime shifts in social-ecological systems: impacts on ecosystem services and implications for poverty alleviation

Regime shifts refer to large, persistent changes in the structure and function of complex systems such as intertwined social-ecological systems (SES). Regime shifts in SES often have large impacts on ecosystem services (e.g., freshwater, food production, climate regulation) with considerable consequences for human livelihoods, health and security. There is evidence that the likelihood of regime … [Read more]

Inter-contextual hermeneutics: interpreting the bible in its social-historical and contemporary contexts

The contemporary western academic modes of reading the bible which focus on the history of the text or the text itself, and serve western interests and goals are inadequate for addressing questions and issues from African contexts. African scholars have therefore developed a general interpretation framework – the Contextual Approach – that relates the text … [Read more]

The Politics of Judicial Review in South Africa

South Africa’s turn to liberal constitutionalism has attracted wide interest from comparative politics scholars.  To date, however, there has been little serious scholarly work done on the politics of adjudication in South Africa.  This project fills that gap by exploring the political constraints under which the first South African Constitutional Court operated from 1995-2005.  In … [Read more]

Institutional Ecology, Sustainable Use and Community Based Natural Resource Management

Ecosystem services and wild resources are worth more than global GDP. Unlike capital and human resources, humankind has only evolved crude institutions for wild resources. These are failing to conserve natural environments, or to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor that coexist with nature.  Managing wild resources often requires collective action. Thus, the global … [Read more]

The Karretjie People of the Karoo

This play centres on the harsh and challenging world of the itinerant group of sheep shearers in the Karoo who have now virtually disappeared.  (This is the first of Fugard’s plays with the original text written in Afrikaans).

Mobile filmmaking

This project entails further refining and developing the technological apparatus necessary for the creation of broad quality digital film media from a mobile source taking into cognizance the specific advantages that such a breakthrough would have for millions of previously disadvantaged South African citizens whose access to the “mainframe” of the digital grid is extremely … [Read more]