Page 168 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
In June 2011, PERC hosted a visit by the eminent
Australian social theorist, Raewyn Connell, Professor at
Sydney University. Author of over 20 books, and renowned
for her work in the theorisation of gender, she has recently
turned to questions of knowledge production, producing
Southern Theory
(2007). During her ten-day stay at
UCT, she presented a Vice-Chancellor’s Lecture titled
Intellectuals in the 21st century world
, as well as giving
a PERC seminar (
Southern Theory, an Introduction
) and
seminars for the African Centre for Cities and the Institute
for Humanities in Africa.
Bolstering Africa-centred research
Converting research ties into research outputs is a
critical goal of PERC’s Africa Knowledge Project. More
generally, it aims to stimulate, encourage, and support
the production of new knowledge which is transformative
in that it is appropriate to our position in South Africa,
on the continent, and in the world. To this end, a
workshop was hosted in February 2011 to bring together
scholars from the continent, as well as from the diaspora,
around a common theme. Among the scholars who
attended were those who either originated from or worked
in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia,
Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. They included Professor Elisio
Macamo (Centre for African Studies, University of Basel,
Switzerland), Dr Afe Adogame (University of Edinburgh,
Scotland), Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo (University
of Ghana), and Dr Mbugua Mungai (Kenyatta University,
Kenya). Six PERC grant projects were represented at the
workshop and will be contributing a chapter each to an
edited collection.
To share the expertise of scholars across disciplinary
boundaries, a seminar series was held to encourage
and promote conversations about Afropolitan research
and teaching. Examples included a joint presentation on
UCT’s postgraduate teaching in Africa, demonstrating the
benefits of shaping the learning experience of students
to emphasise African conditions, highlighting regional
diversity, and revealing the advantages of regional
exchange. Other seminars explored the topic
Research in Africa – Africa-Centred Research
reference to a wide range of projects and postgraduate
recruitment experiences.
Worldwide networks
The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) comprises 19
research-intensive institutions, spanning six continents.
Its mission is to be “one of the leading international
Higher Education networks, collaborating to accelerate
the creation of knowledge and to develop leaders who
will be prepared to address the significant challenges,
and opportunities, of our rapidly-changing world.”
and must fulfill at least one of the three leadership criteria
(publication, citation, or innovation leadership).
The top three distinctive competencies identified for the
current period are:
Distinctive Competency #1, which includes the
following fields: AIDS, mental health assessment,
medical practice, sexually transmitted diseases, and
human resource management.
Distinctive Competency #2: sexually transmitted
diseases, chest and respiratory diseases, AIDS,
clinical infectious disease and vaccines.
Distinctive Competency #4: rangeland ecology,
archeological science, climatology, insect physiology,
and botany.
Dupl icat ion of research special isat ions wi thin
competencies is due to the inter-disciplinary nature of the
competency formation and the focus.
Reaching out around the world
In collaboration with International Academic Programmes
Office (IAPO), the Research Office strives to realise UCT’s
Afropolitan vision of playing a consistent and visible role
on the continent that is in line with the university’s pre-
eminent position as one of Africa’s leading institutions.
The Programme for the Enhancement of Research
Capacity (PERC), which is overseen by Dr Robert Morrell,
has been established as an integral part of UCT’s efforts
to establish and strengthen collaborative networks with
partners in the global South and particularly in Africa.
To date, ties have been forged with researchers in
Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
(For more on PERC, see page 171.)
Dr Lesley Green, of the Department of Social
Anthropology, and a former associate of PERC, has
forged ties with South America. Dr Green combined the
resources of the Sawyer Seminar Series (a programme of
the Mellon Foundation), which she co-ordinated, to bring
together scholars from the South for a highly successful
workshop titled
Natures and States in the Global South
Internationally renowned anthropologist from the Museu
Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Professor Eduardo
Viveiros de Castro gave the keynote address, and
speakers included Professor Mario Blaser, an Argentine
anthropologist, who currently holds the Canada Research
Chair in Aboriginal Studies at Memorial University
(Canada); Professor Marisol de la Cadena, a Peruvian
anthropologist and knowledge activist based at the
University of California at Davis (USA); Professor Helen
Verran, reader in the History and Philosophy of Science at
the University of Melbourne (Australia); Professor David
Turnbull of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab in Melbourne
(Australia); and Professor Laura Rival of the School of
Development Studies and Anthropology at Oxford (UK).