PERSPECTIVES ON INTELLECTUAL LIBERATION: Crucial Questions about Knowledge and its Production and Consumption

Moderator:
Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller
Panellists:
Dr Hester du Plessis
Mr Frank Lekaba
Prof Gauhar Raza
Prof Karin van Marle
Prof Vasu Reddy

Dr Hester du Plessis

Hester du Plessis holds a PhD in Philosophy (UNISA) and is currently a Chief Research Specialist and head of Science Communication at the Research Use and Impact Assessment (RIA) unit of the Human and Social Science Council (HSRC) in South Africa. She was previously the Head of Faculty Humanity at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) and Senior Researcher at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), University of Johannesburg (UJ. She also held a Research Chair in Design Education and Innovation at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India in the Design Vision Centre (DVC) in 2007. Her main interest in research follows a transdisciplinary approach bringing together science communication, epistemology (ways of knowing) and philosophy.  Besides a number of journal articles, she co-authored 3 book publications. She is currently working on a project: Knowledge from precarity and mobility at the Research Laboratory in Science of Information and Communication (GRIPIC), School for Advanced Studies in Information Studies and Internal Communication (CELSA), Faculty of Arts, Sorbonne University, Neuilly & Paris.

Mr Frank Lekaba

Frank Lekaba is a researcher in the Governance and Security Unit of the Africa Institute of South Africa, one of the Human Sciences Research Council. He holds a Master of Social Sciences in International Relations from the North West University. He is a doctoral candidate in the Politics Department of the University of Johannesburg. His areas of research interests include, the transformation of global multilateral organisations, security studies, African politics, regional integration and the people’s participation (local voices) in governance structures and social development.

Prof Gauhar Raza

Prof Raza is an electrical engineer by qualification, a researcher by choice, a communicator and a poet by passion. He Initiated research on Public Understanding of Science (PUS) in India and South Africa and has conducted large-scale PUS surveys. Area of expertise includes Science Communication, Cultural Studies, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Scientific Temper. Former Professor, AcSIR, Chief Scientist and Head, Department of Science Communication through Multi-Media (SCM) National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), CSIR, INDIA, and former Director, Jahangirabad Media Institute. Prof Raza is also an Honorary Fellow, HSRC, South Africa; an International Fellow, MISTRA, South Africa and a Member, Science Communication Committee, JHC, University of Lorraine, France.

Prof Karin van Marle

Karin van Marle works in the Department of Jurisprudence, University of Pretoria.  Her teaching, postgraduate supervision and research falls within the broad field of law and the humanities and involves critical theory, legal philosophy and jurisprudence. The main focus of her research for the past two decades has been on the thinking of a post-apartheid jurisprudence, situated in themes of transformation, memory, reconciliation and reparation.  Her work on post-apartheid jurisprudence engages with the crisis of modernity and a rethinking of law and legal theory along the lines of fragility, finitude and a ‘giving up of certitudes’. She is an ethical feminist and her research and writing are inspired by and embedded in feminist theory.

Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller

Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller holds the degrees of BJuris LLB LLM LLD. She is the Executive Director of the Democracy Governance and Service Delivery research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council and an adjunct Professor of the Nelson R Mandela School of Law at the University of Fort Hare. Prof Bohler-Muller has represented South Africa in multilateral fora such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and is the chairperson of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group after having led the Blue Economy Core Group of IORA. With over 100 academic publications, her research interests include constitutional law, democracy, governance, social justice, and gender equality. Her latest book, co-edited by Cosser, M. & Pienaar, G. is entitled Making the road by walking: the evolution of the South African Constitution 2018. Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press. She is also currently the Acting Executive Director of the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) within the HSRC.

Prof Vasu Reddy

Prof. Reddy holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria. His research focus is on human and social development, particularly identity marker issues (genders, sexualities, HIV, AIDS, social justice, and diversity) as well as humanities questions that address policy dimensions. He taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and worked as a researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council where he later headed the Human and Social Development Research Programme as Executive Director. Over and above articles in leading journals representing his research focus, he has published several book-length publications. A most recent publication is Queer in Africa: LGBTQI Identities, Citizenship, and Activism (co-edited with ZethuMatebeni and Surya Monro, Routledge, 2018).

In the light of a number of activities planned by the Human Sciences Research Council related to the  50th and 90th Anniversary, this panel on “Intellectual Liberation” will pose difficult questions and provide fresh insights from cross and multi – inter- and trans-disciplinary perspectives presented by ‘pluriversality’ as a different way of confronting current hegemonies of power and knowledge. The focus of this discussion will be on ‘intellectual liberation’ as a reflexive, deliberate, and necessary intellectual project that would require a fundamental questioning of knowledge production and consumption practices. South Africa is rich in intellectual traditions that vary as much as the multiple cultures and identities that contribute to our national identity. In this regard, we recognise the richness of ideological debate. Within the context of the HSRC’s own journey over the past 90 years it would be pertinent to explore how to move away from knowledge enclosures and forced specialisations and ‘disciplines’ to embracing knowledge democracy and diverse ways of knowing and being.

2018-11-14T17:23:05+00:00