Deep learning network for South African birdsong and its wider implications on the concept of intelligence

We develop an operational convolutional neural network, that distinguishes 170 different South African birdsongs. The dataset consists of 3228 recordings extracted from Xeno-Canto, a user-generated database. Most recordings are however low quality, with multiple birdsongs a nd background noises. This problem is solved by pre-training using the larger and higher quality BirdCLEF2016 dataset (24607 recordings, … [Read more]

Militarized Global Apartheid

This book project explores how new regimes of labor and mobility control are taking shape across the global north in a militarized form that mimics South Africa’s history of apartheid. The book analyzes the rise of a system of global apartheid in the form of a racialized world order and a hierarchical labor market dependent … [Read more]

Is it rape in the eyes of Uganda’s men or Community Perceptions on rape?

The project will involve analysis and interpretation of data collected in research aimed at interrogating societal definitions of rape. Knowing what society considers acceptable behavior may explain the prevalence of an offence. Efforts towards reducing crime should be preceded by interrogation of society’s views towards the conduct in question. That knowledge would be invaluable in … [Read more]

Crime and Citizenship

Witnessing the large-scale displacement and conditions of statelessness in the wake of the Second World War, political theorist Hannah Arendt coined the evocative phrase “the right to have rights”, arguing that the fundamental right, from which all other rights sprung, was the right to membership of a political community. Who gets to define whether one … [Read more]

The legacy and lessons of the Khulumani case

During its 12-year trajectory, the Khulumani case has excited interest worldwide. The case should be understood and situated within the Transitional Justice initiatives undertaken during the South African political and legal transition, most notably the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. What approach was taken towards reparations for victims of gross human rights abuses during Apartheid? The … [Read more]

Expertise and Public Participation in Government Policymaking: South Africa in Comparative Context

The fellowship at STIAS will build on my prior work on comparative administrative law dealing with public participation in policymaking. In the modern state, legislatures cannot possibly resolve all aspects of the large policy problems raised by the activist regulatory state. Over and above the statutory language, executive officials are constantly required to deal with … [Read more]

A Gene Revolution for Africa? Genetically Modified Crops and the Future of African Agriculture

Africa has emerged as the ‘final frontier’ in the global debate over the potential for Genetically Modified (GM) crops to alleviate poverty and hunger for smallholder farmers. Proponents argue that GM crops represent one of the most promising means of improving yields and livelihoods across the continent, and have invested over half a billion dollars … [Read more]

Acknowledgment, denial and collective memories of mass atrocities: comparative perspectives

Recent decades have witnessed systematic efforts to build institutions in response to mass atrocities, a “justice cascade”, and an unprecedented wave of apologies by heads of state. Simultaneously, denial is rampant, at times strategically planned in response to acknowledgment, and supported by a calculated reluctance to intervene. The proposed project explores comparatively struggles between acknowledgment … [Read more]

It takes two: Theoretical and clinical advances in vulvodynia from an interpersonal perspective

Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition that is characterized by recurrent vulvo-vaginal pain that does not have an identifiable cause. With an estimated prevalence of 8% in the general population, this pain negatively affects women’s and their partners’ overall quality of life, including their psychological, relationship, and sexual well-being. In vulvodynia, the pain interferes with … [Read more]

From Sovereignty to Property (and back): The spatial transition of colonial and developmentalist claims over land

Central to the question of land grabs around the world is a tension between the sovereignty of States – and its internal manifestation in the form of eminent domain – and the property rights of individuals and communities.  It is through such state action that land grabs are made possible – long term leases, land … [Read more]