Institute of African Studies - Columbia University


January 31, 2014
11-13 April 2014, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg - Hosted by the History Workshop/NRF Chair in ‘Local Histories and Present Realities’ and the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI)

The theme for the 2014 summer school in Johannesburg will be popular protests and the state in Africa. The focus will be specifically on the relationship between popular protests and movements and the state. The summer school will bring into dialogue perspectives and experiences, both contemporary and historical, from across the continent. 

The main aim of the summer school will be to understand protest movements in Africa specifically in relation to the state in its various manifestations and particular histories of state administration. This relationship includes several levels of engagement between protests and the state ranging from the local to the central state, to regional and transnational state networks.

While the burgeoning scholarship on new social movements has pointed to the interconnectedness of political protests and struggles in the global South, social movement theory does not always explain the different forms that protests take at the local level, shaped in turn by local state formations. The summer school will thus seek to analyse and understand the local and regional dimensions of protest movements, while probing the extent to which their aims, strategies and tactics are confined to the nation-state.

Among the other themes that will be addressed by the summer school are: the urban versus rural character of popular protests; the relationship between rural protests and traditional leaders and administrative structures; and the impact of popular protests on the politics of democratisation in African states from the South African experience to the Arab uprising.

The summer school will follow the Youth Politics Colloquium on ‘The shifting spaces and modalities of youth politics in Africa’ of 8-10 April 2014, which will also be held in Johannesburg and hosted by the NRF Chair/History Workshop. In order to link with some of the themes of the colloquium, the summer school will pay special attention to youth politics as one specific dimension of political protests in Africa.

Space is limited to 30 participants. While a few spaces will be reserved for academic staff members, the majority of participants will be postgraduate students at doctoral and Masters levels. International participants will be responsible for covering their airfare. Academic staff may be required to contribute to some of the accommodation costs if the participants exceed the limit.

Interested applicants should send their paper title, along with a 300 word abstract, to by 31 January 2014.