Archive | Forthcoming events

Colloquium on Multilingualism: programme and abstracts

On 28-30 June 2019, JIAS and the Department of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies in the School of Humanities of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore will host a Colloquium on ‘The Future of Multilingualism’. The Colloquium will be held at JIAS in Westdene, Johannesburg.

The convenors have released the programme plus some of the abstracts. To download this document, click here.


The Colloquium is aimed at taking advantage of multilingual sites such as South Africa and Singapore to explore the future of multilingualism. Questions to be addressed include the following:

  • What is the future of multilingualism in these multilingual societies?
  • How do anti-colonial and post-colonial nations reconcile multilingualism in the face of new linguistic ecologies?
  • What are the challenges of nation-building when one is faced with multiple tongues?
  • What does the way in which multilingual postcolonial nations deal with multilingualism tell us about a possible alternative framework for understanding the relationship between language and nation?
  • How are present education systems and technologies dealing with multilingualism?

By approaching this conversation from archives across Asia and Africa, we aim to look at multilingualism and its future trajectory by taking into account the specificities of a range of colonial experiences, political regimes, and current infrastructures.

The gathering at JIAS will also seek to generate contributions to an edited volume emanating from the first round of conversations which were held in Singapore earlier this year.

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Second conference on colonialism and its implications

On 9—11 July 2018, JIAS and the Department of Politics and International Relation at the University of Johannesburg will host a conference on ‘After the Prelude: Decolonisation, Evolution and Revolution’. This will the second in a series of three conferences on colonialism and its implications.

The convenors are Professor David Boucher of the Department of Politics and International Relations at UJ and Cardiff University (, and Dr Ayesha Omar of the Department of Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand (

The conference is open to all. Should you wish to attend, please study the programme, and inform the organisers whether you would like to attend the whole conference or selected panel discussions only. There is no conference fee.

DATE: 9—11 July 2018.

TIMES: See provisional programme.

VENUE: JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg.

INVITATION: For a downloadable invitation, click here.

PROGRAMME: For the provisional programme, click here.

RSVP: Rae Israel,, Ayesha Omar,

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Workshop on enslavement and conflict in Africa: call for registration

On 25—28 June 2018, the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand will host a workshop on ‘Enslavement, Conflict and Forced Marriage in Africa: Research methods, research ethics, and the political economy of knowledge production’.

The workshop forms part of Conjugal Slavery In War (CsiW), a multidisciplinary project for the study of enslavement, marriage and masculinities, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The Department of Political Studies at Wits University is one of numerous project partners in the USA, Britain and Africa. JIAS is providing the workshop with additional support.

Early career scholars, activists and practitioners are invited to register. According to the organisers, the event will provide participants with an opportunity to present their work, build relationships with others working in similar fields, and engage with more senior scholars and practitioners.

The workshop will focus on the different ways in which knowledge of patterns of enslavement, conflict and marriage in sub-Saharan Africa have been – and should be —  collected and disseminated.

The organisers would especially welcome submissions that explore one or both of two central themes, namely research methods and research ethics; and the political economy of knowledge production and dissemination.

DATE: Monday 25 June 2018 – Thursday 28 June 2018

VENUE:  Humanities Graduate Centre, South West Engineering Building, East Campus, Wits University

REGISTRATION: To register via the Eventbrite system, click here.


This SSHRC-funded partnership documents cases of so-called forced marriage in conflict situations, places this data in historical context, and impacts the international prosecution of crimes against humanity as well as local reparations programs for survivors of violence. With the central participation of community-based organizations in Africa, this project will strengthen individual’s and organizations’ capacity to prevent violence, and advance understanding of the use of conjugal slavery as a tool of war through evidence-based research.

Building on the success of an SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (Bunting 2011-2015) and insights gained by the partners over the past four years, this interdisciplinary team of researchers and partners explores the social and legal meaning of conjugal slavery or servile marriage in times of war and the implications of this gender violence in post-conflict situations. Through archival, qualitative, and legal research this Partnership explores the experiences of men and women who were subject to or participated in enslavement in the conflicts in the DRC, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda, and Mali.

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Minister to launch Swatuk book on water

The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti, will launch the book Water in Southern Africa by Prof Larry A Swatuk at JIAS on 26 July 2018.

Prof Swatuk will then discuss its contents, followed by a question and answer session. The event is open to all, but seating space will be limited.

Larry Swatuk is a professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and an Extraordinary Professor in the Institute for Water Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

The book is the first in the JIAS / UKZN Press Off-Centre Series.

Date: 26 July 2018.

Time: 16h0 for 16h30.

Venue: JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg.

Invitation: For a printable invitation, click here.

RSVP: Emelia Kamena by 20 July.

PARKING: Please park at the UJ Astro Hockey Club in nearby Radnor Street, Westdene. A shuttle will take you to JIAS, and return you to your vehicle.


When it comes to water, we are fed a daily diet of doom and gloom, of a looming crisis: wars of the future will be over water; nearly one billion people lack access to clean water; river basins are closed, so there is no more water to be allocated despite ever-growing demand; aquifers are overdrawn to such an extent that a global food crisis is just around the corner; and major cities, such as Bangkok and Mexico, are sinking. And let us not forget about pollution or vector-borne diseases.

The challenges for sustainable water management are massive. Yet, as shown in this book, there are many positives to be drawn from the southern African experience. Despite abiding conditions of economy underdevelopment and social inequality, people rise to the challenge, often out of necessity and through self-help, but sometimes through creative coalitions operating at different scales – from the local to the global – and across issue areas, from trans-boundary governance to urban water supply. This first volume in the Off-Centre series argues that we must learn to see water and the region differently if we are to meet present challenges and better prepare for an uncertain, climate-changing future.

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Focus on financial services and entrepreneurship in Africa

On 27 and 28 November 2017, JIAS and the UJ College of Business and Economics will host two events focusing on financial services and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.

The first is the launch of a book entitled Developing Africa’s Financial Services: The Importance of High Impact Entrepreneurship, edited by Dr Dana T Redford, and published by Emerald Press.

The second event is an all-day workshop on the same subject. Both the launch and workshop will be addressed by Dr Redford, founder and president of the Policy Experimentation and Evaluation Platform (PEEP), and an international expert on entrepreneurship and public policy.

Details of both events are as follows:

Book launch

DATE: Monday 27 November 2017.
TIME: 17h00.
VENUE: Cartoon Room, JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg.
INVITATION: For a printable invitation, click here.
RSVP: By 20 November 2017.


DATE: Tuesday 27 November 2017.
TIME: 09h00 to 16h00.
VENUE: Cartoon Room, JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg.
INVITATION: For a printable invitation, click here.
RSVP: by 20 November 2017.


Please park at the UJ Astro Hockey Club in Radnor Street, Westdene. A shuttle will take you to JIAS, and return you to your vehicle. The shuttle will begin to run half an hour before each event. The parking area is secure. For directions and a map, click here.

More about the book

The book contains a chapter by Grietjie Verhoef, Professor of Economic, Business and Accounting History at the UJ College of Business and Economics entitled ‘The rise of financial services in Africa – an historical perspective’.

The backtext reads as follows: ‘An in-depth portrait of the financial services sector and high-impact entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa, this book reveals a region that, despite many challenges, saw tremendous growth over the last decade and is rapidly becoming a global powerhouse.

‘It features a detailed economic history of the region, case studies focused on its entrepreneurial banks, and a closer look at development trrends, such as impact investing, which are redefining Africa’s financial services. Comprehensive and insightful, it is an invaluable reference for students, practitioners and policymakers with an interest in the future of Africa’s financial services.’

Dana T Redford is the founder and president of the Policy Experimentation and Evaluation Platform (PEEP) and has taught at UC-Berkeley and Universidade Catolica Portuguesa. He is an internationally recognised expert on entrepreneurship and public policy, and has worked with the US Department of Commerce, the European Commission, the  OECD, the UN, and various European and African governments.

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Conversation on gender and cartooning

On Thursday 19 October 2017, JIAS will host a conversation on ‘Gender and Cartooning in South Africa’.

The speakers will be Stacey Stent, South Africa’s only woman cartoonist, whose work is currently being exhibited at JIAS, and Brenda Schmahmann, NRF Research Professor in South African Art and Visual Culture at UJ.

The event will be chaired by Prof Sarah Gravett, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research at UJ. Drinks and snacks will be served.

DATE: Thursday 19 October 2017.
TIME: 17h00.
VENUE: The Cartoon Room, JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene.

This event is fully subscribed. If you are attending, please park at the UJ Astro Hockey Club in Radnor Street, Westdene. A shuttle will take you to JIAS and return you to your vehicle after the event. The shuttle will begin running  at 16h30, and return at 19h00. Parking at the Hockey Club is secure.

DIRECTIONS: For directions and a map, click here.

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Fourth Brain Matters Seminar

ON Thursday 26 October, JIAS will host a seminar by Dr Samantha Brooks, Senior lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Cape Town, on ‘Working Memory for Cognitive Control in Anorexia vs Addiction: A Bayesian Brain Perspective’.

The seminar is the fourth in the Brain Matters Seminar Series, a joint initiative of JIAS and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development at the University of the Witwatersrand, with support from the Southern African Neuroscience Society and the Wits Cortex Club. Like the rest of the series, the seminar is open to members of the public.

DATE: Thursday 26 October 2017.

TIME: 13h00.

VENUE: JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg.

INVITATION: For a printable invitation, click here.

RSVP to or by 15 October.

TRANSPORT FROM WITS: Transport will be available from the Wits School of Public Health at 12 noon on Thursday 26 October. Should you need transport, please contact or

PARKING AT JIAS: Please park at the UJ Astro Hockey Club in Radnor Street, Westdene. A shuttle will take you to JIAS and back. The shuttle will run from 12h30 onwards. For directions and a map, click here.


We are living in a world that is extremely stimulating and impulse-driven.  It is perhaps no coincidence that we are experiencing huge crises in terms of social unrest in South Africa and across the globe, fueled by an abundance and instant availability of food, drugs, consumer goods, sex – all appetitive processes. This talk will highlight some of the neurobiological theory and evidence that explains how working memory enables cognitive control over appetitive processes such as eating and drug taking.

From the basis of the extremes of an impulse control spectrum model, Dr Brooks will describe brain imaging data from studies in anorexia nervosa versus substance use disorder to understand the neurocognitive basis of cognitive control.  Dr Brooks will touch on Bayesian Brain theory, particularly related to epistemic foraging versus jumping to conclusions, to help to explain a novel training adjunct to treatment for impulse control that Dr Brooks’s team has been developing. Working memory training may harness inherent neural plasticity in brain circuits underlying impulse control.

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Third Big Data Seminar

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been cancelled.

On 5 October 2017, Prof Bhekisipho Twala, Director: Institute for Intelligent Systems, Faculty of Engineering and the Build Environment (FEBE) at UJ, will present a seminar at JIAS entitled ‘Smart African Cities: Does Data Quality Matter?’

This is the third in a four-part seminar series on ‘The Challenge of Big Data’, hosted by FEBE and JIAS. Attendance will be limited to 40 people.

DATE: Thursday 5 October 2017
TIME: 16h30–18h30
VENUE: JIAS, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg
INVITATION: For a downloadable invitation, click here.


Please park at the UJ Astro Hockey Club in Radnor Street, Westdene (see map).
A shuttle will run to JIAS from 16h20 onwards, and back to the parking area from 19h00 onwards.
There is a permanent security guard at the parking site.


Enter Ayr Road from Main Road, Westdene (at the robot between the Melville Spar and Mays Chemist).
Turn second right into Radnor Street, and go down the road into the US Astro Hockey Grounds.
The GPS coordinates are: Latitude -26 10 25.09, Longitude -27 59 57.22

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Conference on ‘Prelude to Decolonisation: The Turning of the Tide’

On 28-30 August 2017, JIAS will host an interdisplinary conference entitled ‘The Prelude to Decolonisation: The Turning of the Tide’.

The conference will feature contributions by scholars from a range of South African and British universities.

JIAS is the main sponsor. Other participating institutions are the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Cambridge.

The conference will run from 14h00 on Monday 28 August to 18h00 on Wednesday 30 August.

While seats are limited, members of the public are welcome.

For the final programme, click here.

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Workshop on Dark Matter at the NTU

On 13 to 15 November 2017, the Institute of Advanced Studies At Nanyang Technological University in Singapore will hold a Topical Workshop on Dark Matter. All those interested are invited to attend.

The organisers have provided the following background information:

‘One of the most intriguing problems in present-day physics, astrophysics and cosmology revolves around the nature of dark matter – the dominant form of matter in the universe. Discovered first by pioneers such as Lundmark and Zwicky in the early decades of the last century, the prominence of the dark matter problem has become more acute in recent years. Theoretical and observational evidence agree that dark matter outweighs visible matter by at least five to one, but the identity of dark matter remains a mystery even now.

‘This workshop will feature the most up-to-date research in this field and introduce various candidates for dark matter. The axion is one such candidate proposed by Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek, who will be at the workshop in person for discussion. The workshop will also cover the ongoing hunt for dark matter signatures at accelerators and in underground and space experiments, the verification of the existence of dark matter from studies of the cosmic microwave background, and new theoretical ideas about dark matter and dark energy paradigms.’

A registration website has been created. To access it, click here.

For enquiries, please email the conference secretariat at

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