2017

The Performance of Democracies

Democracy as an overall model for how societies should be governed must be seen as a remarkable success. Over the last centuries, several waves of democracy have swept over the globe, bringing representative democracy to places where it seemed inconceivable fifty, or even twenty-five years ago. More countries than ever are now considered to be … [Read more]

“Symbolic Classification”

The project enquires into the role of symbolic classification in the construction and reproduction of inequality. It pursues the hypothesis that the mechanisms constituting and naturalizing racism are the same as in social and gender inequality. This hypothesis was generated in a long-term research project on social and gender inequality in Asia, Europe and Latin … [Read more]

Bridging between the Physical and Biological Worlds

Living and non-living systems are strikingly different. Yet the established principles of physics and chemistry seem unable to clarify the basis for that difference and a wide conceptual gulf continues to separate animate and inanimate. Science continues to struggle with two central questions regarding living systems: how was life able to emerge from non-life, and … [Read more]

Creating a Liberal Empire: Histories and Legacies

This book will address the question of how liberal society attempts to reconcile empire to its values and principles. This is not only a contemporary issue. It is also historical. In the early nineteenth century, the British Empire self- consciously faced this issue as it created the colonies of Australia and New Zealand. At this … [Read more]

Hiraeth (a novel)

The creative project, a novel with the working title ‘Hiraeth’, is conceived of as a mythopeoic journey story undertaken by nine young misfits from different parts of the world, attending a private boarding school in Kenya, who are haunted by a common dream and the persistent summons of a honey-guide. In the story, they end … [Read more]

Texts/Forms and Transformations: A Poetics of the African Imagination

African narratives in both their traditional and contemporary phases apparently extend or re-stage tendencies previously encoded in folklore. These narratives are related not because newer ones or forms simply repeat previous ones but in the way in which continuity and innovation are simultaneous aspects of evolving traditions. These connections (as well as divergences), both cultural … [Read more]

Asymmetric (Trans)Constitutionalism beyond Eurocentrism and Post-Colonialism

The research deals with the asymmetrical political relations in the world society and their impact on transconstitutional entanglements between legal orders. It moves away from both the Eurocentric and the post-colonial approach on constitutionalism. On one hand, it goes beyond Western and simplistic cosmopolitan global constitutionalism models and soft collision analyses, which are privileged in … [Read more]

Law and World

The terms “globe” and “world” are used interchangeably in the contemporary discussion about legal globalizations. So, for example, the WTO’s webpage dedicated to explaining what the organization is about kicks off as follows: ‘The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations’. There is nothing … [Read more]

The Free Peoples Festivals: exploring cross-border relationships and interactions in the fostering of alternative music communities in South Africa

This project forms part of a five year research project that is investigating the role that alternative music communities in South Africa played to imagine and create a social order different from the system of apartheid. These vestiges will be examined through an oral history project and archival work in the Hidden Years Music Archive … [Read more]

Unwilling Umma: Histories of Exile and Islam Across the Indian Ocean

This project is an exploration of the life and memories associated with three key saints of the local Capetonian scene, and most notably Tuan Guru, set against a larger story of forced labour and exile in the Indian Ocean from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. As such, it will place the life of scholars … [Read more]