2018

Generation, Democratization and Gang Violence in the Shanties: Haiti and South Africa

In this project, I seek an opportunity at STIAS to write several chapters of a book based on a comparative account of the nexus between violence and democracy in two shantytowns in Haiti and South Africa. The project builds on a series of transdisciplinary studies of violence that combine multistage quantitative and ethnographic data over … [Read more]

Democratic Governance, Corruption, and Corruption Control Mechanisms in Africa: A Comparative Study

The 1990s were the starting point in the wave of new multiparty democracies in Africa. Since then, the ideas and practices of liberal democratic elections and those about the peaceful transfer of powers through electoral processes and citizens’ participation have been spreading out and consolidating in many countries, despite some recent observed regressions. Expectations have … [Read more]

APOCALYPSE 2016-2019: Decline of the ANC, Rise of South Africa?

The three years 2016 to 2019 will change South Africa more significantly than any other time since the dawn of democracy in 1994. The bookends of that process are the August 2016 local elections at which the ruling African National Congress lost control of the country’s major cities, and the mid-2019 general election, at which … [Read more]

Leveraging Sector Development for Urban Transformation in Africa

Africa along with Asia is the epicenter of rapid urbanization in the 21st century. Urbanization is good news for development. Urbanization and economic growth are positively associated. Countries urbanize as their economies transit from agrarian to industrial. While this generally holds true, the links are weak in Africa. In the first two decades of post … [Read more]

The complex economics of the public domain

Prominent economists (and US trade negotiators) assert that bad things happen when creative works fall into the public domain. They insist that works without owners to shepherd them will become inaccessible, worn out, or mis-used and, therefore, the term of copyright should continue to be extended. Yet, recent empirical studies show that books falling into … [Read more]

From Indian Ocean to African Indian: Through the refracted lens of Capital Art Studio, Zanzibar

What happens when an Indian Ocean past meets an African Indian present in a collection of photographs by Ranchhod and Rohit Oza, family proprietors of Capital Art Studio who together visually captured the worldly place (and centre of the dhow trade and culture) of Zanzibar from 1930 until the present day? My intention with this … [Read more]

A history of Soweto’s Morris Isaacson High School

This project involves writing a history of one of Soweto’s most historically important secondary schools, Morris Isaacson High School. It is a remarkable school in many ways. Not only did it feature prominently in the 1976 uprising but it produced a significant chunk of Soweto’s professional and political elite for fifty years. In spite of … [Read more]

Traditional Authorities and Decentralisation in Southern Africa

The proposed research project is a study of the recent resurgence of traditional authorities in southern Africa. In particular, it examines the time-period since the large-scale territorial decentralisation reforms of the 1990s in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Territorial decentralisation, often promoted and supported by international organisations for development, blew new … [Read more]

Three Paths to Constitutionalism

There are three paths to constitutionalism in the modern world. Under the first, revolutionary-outsiders use the Constitution to commit their new regime to the principles proclaimed during their previous struggle: India, South Africa, Italy, France, and Poland have followed this path. Under the second, establishment-insiders use the Constitution to make strategic concessions to disrupt revolutionary … [Read more]

Local practices and institutions and their relevance for systems of social security. An investigation based on a case study of Senegal, Mali and Gabon .

This project has been built around the premise that by and large the present day social security systems in Africa are failing. Since the ILO and World Bank projects to extend social protection cover have been in effect for the last couple of years in several African countries, what can be done in …. Not … [Read more]