All posts by Kevin Murray

Innovation Studies from a Southern Perspective: What New Insights for Comparative and International Education?

The chapter reflects on research that rethinks classic concerns of comparative and international education – the relationships between education and work and the role of education in development. The promises of knowledge-led economic growth have instead yielded increased inequality, poverty, environmental degradation and a decline in the quality of life for the majority, whether in advanced economies of the North, or least developed economies of the South. For education and training systems, the ability to understand these complex social, economic and technological challenges, interpret implications and integrate new practices in response, becomes critical. We reflect on the use of an innovation systems approach in the South, over time, to investigate the ways in which higher education responds to and interacts with, demand for skills from the economy. By highlighting the role of university actors and their interaction in networks, comparative and international researchers can move beyond dominant human capital accounts that focus only on the responsibility of higher education to become more responsive to firms, or on individuals to prepare themselves to be more employable, in a mechanistic reactive manner. This is a promising new emphasis for comparative research.

Source: Innovation Studies from a Southern Perspective: What New Insights for Comparative and International Education? | Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2016

End of the South?

In a recent article for Thesis Eleven, Nikos Papastergiadis argues that “the idea of the Global South is now over.” From the optimism of Bandung, he traces a growing complex and critical understanding of “uneven development”.  As an art theorist, his focus is particularly on its identity in global events such as Documenta. His analysis of Okwi Enwezor’s Documenta XI and Decolonial AestheSis is illuminating, but his overall scepticism about the South as a framework is not as productive.
Of course, any overarching concept leads inevitably to homogenisation, which must be resisted critically. This critique can be useful if it leads to a more responsive framework, rather than a disavowal of the political arena.
The problem with Papastergiadis’ writing is that it returns inevitably to the personal. A reader would be forgiven for expecting some alternative framework or concept emerging from this critique. Instead, we have “a couple of stories about the South and narrate the difficult relationship between art and politics from a more personal perspective”. The two anecdotes are incidental exchanges regarding personal trust between participants in global forums.
In the Santiago gathering of the South Project, the South African curator Kwesi Gule spoke about the “lucky turkeys” who attend such events. He referred to the practice of sparing a turkey before the annual bird sacrifice of Thanksgiving, drawing a parallel with the fortunate exceptions of disenfranchisement that are lucky to attend such global gatherings. I don’t think this should stop us meeting, as the face to face live argument is so important for generating the kind of revelations that Gule made. But we should always be critically reflexive of our own position in speaking for others.
While such gatherings favour the bold unmasking of illusions such as the Global South, they don’t always take cognisance of the role these frameworks can play in sustaining hope and solidarity outside the seminar room.
Hardt and Negri show an awareness of this in their support for a pre-postmodern concept of truth:
The postmodernist epistemological challenge to ‘the Enlightenment’ — its attack on master narratives and its critique of truth — also loses its liberatory aura when transposed outside the elite intellectual strata of Europe and North America. Consider, for example, civil war in El Salvador, or the similar institutions that have been established in the post-dictatorial and post-authoritarian regimes of Latin America and South Africa. In the context of state terror and mystification, clinging to the primacy of the concept of truth can be a powerful and necessary form of resistance.
(Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri Empire Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001, p. 155)
Papastergiadis’ language is threaded with poetic phrases. He describes how “a new kind of `cartography’ is woven into existence: one that is constituted through the choreographic manoeuvres that interweave motion and mooring.” While enchanting to read, and particularly to hear, such a expressions rarely provide a proposition for thinking.
If someone is going to claim the “end of the South”, they should provide an alternative that can respond to the need for solidarity and understanding between peoples and their communities.
Perhaps instead, we can look at an end to the South in a purely academic sense, and seek instead for forms of action that can further the kinds of relationships that the idea of South inspires.

Postscript

Papastergiadis, Nikos. 2017. “The End of the Global South and the Cultures of the South.” Thesis Eleven, June,
Raewyn Connell continues to provide for an engaged version of “southern theory” in her work with unions, gender activism and development of workshops. Bruno Latour’s Reset Modernity project is also an exemplary model of how academic practice can seek broader engagement.
Platforms for a more pragmatic use of the South can be found in South Ways and Joyaviva.
Image is from the Museum of the Constitutional Revolution, Isfahan, Iran

Christine Black: A Mosaic of Indigenous Legal Thought: Legendary Tales and Other Writings 

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capture

This book offers an Indigenous supplement to the rich and growing area of visual legal scholarship. Organized around three narratives, each with an associated politico-poetic reading, the book addresses three major global issues: climate change, the trade in human body parts and bio-policing. Manifesting and engaging the traditional storytelling mode of classical Indigenous ontology, these narratives convey legal and political knowledge, not merely through logical argument, but rather through the feelings o

Source: A Mosaic of Indigenous Legal Thought: Legendary Tales and Other Writings (Hardback) – Routledge

Crime & Justice in Asia & the Global South

Abstracts due 31 January 2017

Criminology has concentrated mainly on problems of crime and justice in the metropolitan centres of the Global North, while the global south has remained largely invisible in criminological thinking.  This is an historical legacy of the dominance of the social science in the northern hemisphere. This joint conference aims to redress this imbalance by providing an expansive overview of criminologies of the global periphery. Rather than being held in a city centre, the conference is being convened in the picturesque coastal city of Cairns in the far north of Queensland, Australia. It has an international airport and is within close proximity to Asia and other parts of the global south, as well as the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Forest and a number of Indigenous communities.

Source: Crime & Justice in Asia & the Global South

Global South: A Colloquium

“Global South: A Colloquium” – presented by the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, November 16-19, 2016
University of Virginia

November 16, 2016

Keynote Speakers

“Afro-Atlantic Genealogies of the Global South”
Laurent Dubois (History and Romance Studies, Duke University)
Wednesday, November 16, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Nau Hall 101

Plenary Panel: “Southern Theory”
Juan Obarrio (Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University)

Sarah Nuttall (Literary and Cultural Studies, University of the Witwatersrand)

Moderated by Ian Baucom (Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences, University of Virginia)

Thursday, November 17, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Nau Hall 101

“Poetry, the Global South, and the Migration of Form”
Jahan Ramazani (University of Virginia)
Friday, November 18, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
New Cabell Hall 236

“Where Next? The Global South Out West,” Tsitsi Jaji (English, Duke University)
Saturday, November 19, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
New Cabell Hall 236

Historically, the idea of the ‘Global South’ can be traced to the Brandt Report of 1980, which posited a divide between countries of the North and South according to technological development, GDP, and standard of living. A cultural genealogy of the term stretches back even further to the 1955 Africa-Asia Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, which inaugurated ‘Third World’ collaborations, decolonization movements, and heralded a sustained engagement with the postcolonial as an historical epoch.

Notwithstanding these specific genealogies, ‘Global South’ today appears as an unsettled and unsettling frame from which to contemplate the world. Some think of it as a post-Cold War era replacement for the ‘Third World’ (and so primarily covering Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, but not Europe, America and the Mediterranean worlds), while others use it synonymously with the idea of underdevelopment and deprivation wherever these are found. Yet others see it as a ‘frontier in the unfolding history of neoliberal capitalism’ and a window from which to grasp the conditions of intelligibility of our global present: historical, cultural, aesthetic, political, environmental, biomedical and technological. The antinomy with the more privileged Global North persists both in the domain of political economy and in culturalist perceptions of a decolonial reinvention and invigoration of non-Western lifeworlds.

As will be obvious from the above, the idea of the ‘Global South’ has varied inflections across the disciplines. An economist’s understanding of it does not converge with that of a historian or a literary scholar or even that of a media specialist. At the same time, the paradigmatic force of the term is not in doubt, one that makes intelligible larger constellations of meaning beyond the specific historicity of its origins in a postcolonial and post-Cold War world. The Global South currently exists at the confluence of and tension between systems of knowledge and ways of conceptualizing space, habitations, cultures, aesthetics and political economy. Our colloquium will explore the many dimensions of this concept – philosophical, historical, political, spatial and aesthetic – as they inform contemporary scholarship.

Source: “Global South: A Colloquium” – presented by the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, November 16-19, 2016 | IHGC

Alice invites you to a (northern) Summer School

The Third Edition of the International Summer School “Epistemologies of the South” is a collective space designed to meet, experience, discuss and broaden Epistemologies of the South. This school includes Boaventura de Sousa Santos, author of the epistemological proposal that gives its name to the course, researchers from the Alice project, as well as invited speakers that dialogue with the themes and perspectives under discussion. Among the latter is the well-known philosopher, political thinker and musician Lewis Gordon, along with artists and activists who will challenge and broaden the way we think and feel the world.

June 22 to 30, 2017, Curia (Portugal)

South by Merlin Coverley

Is South a Northern Thing?


Artists and writers from the colder climes of northern Europe have long felt the lure of the South of the continent. Goethe was revitalised by his encounters with Mediterranean culture on his journey to Italy. Nietzsche took flight to the south to begin his life anew. D H Lawrence sought the health-giving southern sun in Sicily and Sardinia.

South

Reading three great southern lands: from the outback to the pampa and the karoo

Seasons, stars, settler colonialism: the nations of the south – Australia, Argentina and South Africa – have much in common. And the 2003 Nobel laureate for literature, JM Coetzee, is helping reframe Australian writing within this southern context.

Source: Reading three great southern lands: from the outback to the pampa and the karoo

The call from South symposium – Slow down!

The Epistemologies of the South symposium was held at Sydney University on 14 April. It received an extraordinary response.  Some of the sessions were standing room only.

The event was convened by Raewyn Connell and Fran Collyerto bring  together of scholars in the social sciences interested in the status of knowledge production in the South.  The morning included brief presentations from Maggie Walter, Vera Mackie, Helen Gardner, Devleena Ghosh and myself. We also heard from those involved in the Arenas of Knowledge project (João Maia, Robert Morrell, Vanessa Watson, Patrick Brownlee and Beck Pearse), a collaboration between Brazil, South Africa and Australia to map social science publishing in the South.

The rest of the day involved group sessions and plenaries where experiences of working in the South were shared. “Speaking bitter thoughts” was encouraged as a way of understanding the experience of working in the university environment, particularly for indigenous peoples (this reflected the People’s Tribunal in Melbourne).

There were many interesting discussions about the knowledge terrain of the South. The universal nature of English in scholarly publishing was seen by many as inevitable, but it was felt that there should be more allowance for the difficulty faced by second-language speakers and for concepts that were not easily translated. The economic challenge for poorer Southern countries of subscribing to scholarly journals was also mentioned. While there are Open Source alternatives for publication, the unpaid labour in maintaining these needs recognition as part of academic work.

More generally, there was broad discussion about the overall framework of knowledge production. The accepted capitalist model of knowledge accumulation through data extraction and publication output was questioned. This seemed to leave little time to reflect on what is learnt. It also does not accommodate indigenous practices, which focus more on the reproduction of knowledge as a form of stewardship. Reflecting the work of Unaisi Nabobo Baba on silence, there was discussion about the importance of listening as a scholarly modality. Overall, there was a feeling that knowledge in a  southern context should involve a quality of slowness that engages with the social relations at play.

Raewyn Connell felt the event had fulfilled its aims:

I was very pleased at the way the national symposium brought together different generations of scholars, and people working in different traditions of knowledge and thought.  Good discussions went on right through the day, and I’m hopeful that many links have been made that will energise this major re-thinking of social knowledge.

Critically, the symposium resolved to establish a mailing list so that the participants can organise future events that will continue these conversations. It will be interesting to see how these conversations develop. The academic machine offers a ready-made system for accumulating knowledge in professional journals. How might an archive of southern knowledge be designed?