The Heartbeat of a Storm

After writing five novels, a collection of short stories and a musical, which largely drew from South Africa’s troubled past, I will use the period at STIAS to write a semi-autobiographical (or novelized) account of the use of technology or forensic science to make sense of our past and of our future. The working title, … [Read more]

Complexity and emergent properties in the spider’s webs and silks

Spider webs are superb examples of functional structures that emerge as the animal builds her web. A highly geometrical thread assembly is constructed step-by-step integrating highly evolved behaviour patterns with silk materials produced on demand. The building behaviour relies on repetitive sequences of movements and manipulations while the silks have mechanical properties that are tuned … [Read more]

Christianity, modernity and the politics of homosexuality in Africa

This project examines the complexity and multiplicity of Christian contributions to politics of homosexuality and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights in Africa. In popular discourses, Christianity is used to perpetuate nationalist rhetoric of African authenticity in which homosexuality is depicted as ‘un-African’ and ‘un-Christian’ and therefore unacceptable. At the same time, Christian-inspired beliefs … [Read more]

History of Scania

Scania is the southernmost province of Sweden. It was settled in the wake of the last Ice Age, appr. 14 000 BC. For most of its history, it was part of the South Scandinavian cultural sphere, which also comprised Jutland, the Danish Isles and the neighbouring provinces of present-day Sweden. In the Middle Ages, Scania was … [Read more]

Transcultural Affinity: Cosmopolitan Imagination in South Africa

My project examines the idea of cosmopolitan solidarity in South Africa. The peaceful transition to democracy and the accompanying Truth and Reconciliation Commission have undoubtedly bequeathed moral and cultural capital to South Africa. In addition to these epochal events, poets, philosophers, novelists and cultural theorists have proffered ideas aimed at promoting transcultural contacts and openness … [Read more]

The international protection of human rights

Time at STIAS will be devoted to the final updating and revision of a syllabus entitled “The International Protection of Human Rights: A Critical Approach”, which was used in 2015 at the College of Law of the National University of Taiwan in Taipei, to be published as a book in 2016 by Intersentia (Antwerp, Cambridge, … [Read more]

The “As-If” reality of puppet theatre

While at STIAS Jane Taylor will be launching creative/intellectual projects involving object theatre and puppetry arts. The broad collective of scholarship that she is establishing is LOKO – The Laboratory of Kinetic Objects – an initiative to link scholars and artists with related questions.  Taylor has worked for several decades with the world-renowned Handspring Puppet Company … [Read more]

Science and development: Growth, expansion and role of university systems in emerging economies

The challenge of economic growth for middle income countries includes technological upgrading, which, in turn, demands expansion and improvement of the higher education and science system. Emerging economies are faced with a subsidiary problem: how to make that growth “inclusive”. The general concern of the inclusion of excluded groups is reflected specifically in the science … [Read more]

Complexity and Anticipation

Complexity is possibly the most relevant scientific idea that emerged during the past decades. A question we would like to raise is whether complexity unfolds in degrees (when systems or models are more or less complex), or whether it is is a type (when a system or a model is either simple or complex). Things … [Read more]

Contemporary law: the dialectic of unity and plurality

The simultaneous unity and plurality of law was a central topic for Hans Kelsen. He conceived of unity and plurality in accordance of the so-called black box model. For him, global law consisted of territorially differentiated national legal orders as well as international law addressing the relationships between these legal orders (or the states personifying … [Read more]