As part of the new Humanities Initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training, the University of Cape Town (UCT)’s Centre for African Studies (CAS) was given a grant in 2012 ‘to coordinate a network of researchers from at least three institutions (other than UCT) located in different provinces in order to construct a history of broader South Africa from the 11th – 16th centuries’. The Director of CAS, Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza, communicated with a range of scholars from various universities and research institutions in South Africa to elicit their interest in this project.
Universities always are, and always have been, complex institutions, with many purposes, interests and constituencies that do not seamlessly align. In the case of African universities, these institutions must play key roles in the provision of the skills and expertise that drive economic and social advancement, as well as global competitiveness. In addition, we must confront the damage done by centuries of colonial exploitation of minds and bodies, and the racism that undergirded it.
The discipline of archeology has been generally absent from the contemporary discussion about decoloniality and critiques of colonialism and modernity. This book aims to correct that situation. Our intention is that the three essays that make up the book should be an opening statement in the engagement between archeology and decoloniality. On the one hand, we offer a specifically archaeological perspective on decolonial thought and practice. On the other hand, we present a decolonial perspective on archaeological guiding ideas and forms of practice, as a transformative project in an undisciplined archeology.
The Mirror in the Ground: Archaeology, Photography and the Making of a Disciplinary Archive by Nick Shepherd
JM Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, comments: “Human archaeology in southern Africa has since its beginnings been implicated in the projects of evolutionism and biological racism. Nick Shepherd’s delvings into the underground of the discipline are part of an honourable effort to save archaeology from its past, an effort that starts with recognizing dig sites for what they have always been: the sacred ground of the dispossessed. The Mirror in the Ground offers us a fresh way of looking at the photographic archive, with a commentary as moving and compassionate as it is unsettling” (April 2014).
Beyond Parliament: Human Rights and the Politics of Social Change in the Global South by Horman Chitonge
In Beyond Parliament Horman Chitonge offers a unique combination of the conceptual dimensions with the practical examples of human rights discourse deployed as an instrument for social change in the global south. He uses the right to water and the right to food to illustrate that human rights are never given on a silver platter; giving effect to human rights is always an outcome of a continuous struggle to protect human dignity and value. To implement this view of human rights, the book argues, requires going beyond the parliamentary politics of recognising and acknowledging human rights in statutes and bill of rights to the radical democratic politics of giving effect to the recognised rights, especially among the poor and marginalised.
This book analyses the accounts of Africa’s economic growth and development experiences, including the current Africa Rising Narrative, from multidisciplinary perspectives. It is a critical assessment of the explanations given for the widely acknowledged poor economic growth and development performance in Africa, prior to the 2000s. It uniquely tries to locate African intellectuals and scholars in the construction of Africa’s economic growth and development portraits over the years. It also provides a detailed analysis of how the World Bank and the IMF have interpreted and dealt with the African development challenges and experiences.