Workshop proceedings

Workshop on computational history

On 14-16 November 2017, JIAS hosted a ground-breaking workshop on ‘Understanding the pre-colonial world through computational history’. The workshop was aimed at assessing prospects for southern African input into the Interactive Global Histories (1205-1533) Project based at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

More specifically, it was aimed at assessing how machine learning techniques could contribute to historical databases on the precolonial world and provide data-driven modelling and simulations to fill a crucial gap in the study of Afro-Eurasian networks, namely sharing primary sources, and making them machine-readable. The event was of interest to historians and scientists interested in the pre-colonial world, and to those interested in the developing field of the digital humanities. To download the workshop report, click here.

Revisiting the History of Capitalism

JIAS and the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA)

In June 2016, scholars from three continents met in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a major workshop entitled ‘Revisiting the History of Capitalism’.

Organised by the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) of the University of the Witwatersrand and the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), the workshop formed part of growing efforts to revise Eurocentric perspectives on capitalism and its origins proceeding from the standpoint of producing knowledge from the Global South.

The workshop was funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, with additional funding from the School of Commerce, Law and Management and the Humanities Graduate Centre of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Held at the Humanities Graduate Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand, it brought together eminent scholars from South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Thirteen papers were delivered, followed by intensive discussions. Participants agreed that the presentations and discussions were significant enough to warrant a full-length publication. For the edited proceedings, click on the link below.

CISA and JIAS. 2016. Revisiting the History of Capitalism. Workshop report.

Science Diplomacy in Africa: Concepts, praxis, prospects

On 15 April 2016, JIAS hosted a workshop on Science Diplomacy in Africa, organised in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand; the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria; and the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy at University College London (UCL STEaPP). It brought together academics, policy-makers, practitioners and others from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada to consider this increasingly important concept in international relations theory and practice, and its significance for South Africa and Africa. For the edited proceedings, click on the link below.


The politics of urban life: social activism and the city of Johannesburg

JIAS and the Wits City Institute

IN September 2015, JIAS and the Wits City Institute hosted a three-day interdisciplinary workshop entitled ‘Performative urbanisms and the city of Johannesburg – fighting for and over the city; expressing the city; knowing the city’.

Organised in partnership with the editors of the international journal Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology; the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne; and the Chair of Culture and Society at Curtin University in Perth, it provided academics, analysts, activists, artists, and other participants with an opportunity to explore a range of themes around Johannesburg and its visual, spatial, textual and especially performative representations, in the context of its functioning as a major global city.

A key intention of the workshop was to pay attention to knowledge produced in and of the city from beyond the academy. In line with this, the first session, entitled ‘The politics of urban life – personal confessions’, provided a space for engaging with the struggles and experiences of social activists working in a range of organisations and institutions in and around the city. Their contributions are encapsulated in this publication.

It also features images sourced from South Africa’s corpus of documentary photography, as well as two participatory photographic projects entitled ‘Working the City: Experiences of Migrant Women in Inner-city Johannesburg’ (2010); and ‘Volume 44’ (2013), in which migrant women sex workers in Johannesburg and other urban centres were assisted to take photographs illustrating their lives and circumstances, and to develop narratives around them.

The publication has been funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, via the Wits City Institute, part of the Mellon Architecture, Urbanism and Humanities Initiative at the University of the Witwatersrand.

A limited number of copies are available from the Wits City Institute. To download a desktop version, click on the link below.

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