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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Environmental sociologist from the USA visits the UFS
2009-12-03

From the left are: Prof. Bell, Dr Nola Redelinghuys from the Department of Sociology at the UFS, and Prof. Wijnand Swart, Director of Strategic Academic Cluster 4.
Photo: Lacea Loader
 
The Strategic Academic Cluster 4 (Technologies for Sustainable Crop Industries in semi-arid Regions) at the University of the Free State (UFS) this week hosted a seminar featuring Prof. Michael M. Bell, Chairperson of the Agroecology Graduate Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the USA. The title of his seminar was, “Thinking Like a Holon: A Post-Systems Approach to Agroecology”.

By using examples drawn from issues of agriculture, food, and the environment, Prof. Bell argued for moving beyond systems thinking’s emphasis on connections to the contextual awareness of “holon thinking.” He also argued that holon thinking encouraged an ontological humility that fostered openness to interdisciplinarity.

Prof. Bell is an environmental sociologist and a systems theorist with three central foci in all of his work: dialogics, the sociology of nature, and social justice. He is the author of seven books, three of which have won national awards in the USA. His visit to South Africa, and particularly the UFS, was to explore possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UFS.

His seminar attracted numerous students and staff members from various departments in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the Faculty of the Humanities. Follow-up discussions will hopefully encourage closer collaboration between researchers in Cluster 4 and Cluster 2 (New Frontiers in Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development).

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