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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

UFS academic delivers inaugural lecture on challenges confronting political science in the 21st century
2012-10-12

Prof. Hussein Solomon.
Photo: Stephen Collett
12 October 2012

This week Prof. Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Governance delivered his inaugural lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

In his lecture, “Challenges confronting political science in the 21st century, A South African perspective”, Prof. Solomon explored five challenges to academic political science in general and to South African political scientists in particular.

The challenges include the need to localise international relations theory with an emphasis on the emancipatory dimensions; exploring the nexus between technology and politics; incorporating political anthropology into mainstream political science syllabi; rising to the challenge of governing Africa’s cities; and the dangers of over-specialisation in an era that demands the use of a broader academic lens.

According to Prof. Solomon, political science has come a long way from those heady days in 1950 when Lasswell could confidently state that politics was about who gets what, when and how.

“Indeed, the world of 2012 scarcely resembles the world of 1950. Immanuel Wallerstein was correct in his assessment that the modern world system is coming to an end. As political scientists, we need to interrogate our existing knowledge constructs in relation to this rapidly changing reality. We need to indigenise international relations theory and emphasise creating an emancipatory and counter-hegemonic discourse.

We need to explore the nexus between technology and politics to deepen our democracy by empowering the margins in our societies. We need to embrace political anthropology as we strive to understand non-Western forms of governance. We need to use these understandings of traditional societies as we create hybrid forms of urban governance that stress inclusivity as we overcome the politics of identity and difference. We need to heed the call of De Tocqueville and create a new political science to understand the new times by supplementing disciplinary insights with those from other disciplines. In doing so, political science will once more regain its relevance to humanity in the twenty-first century,” Prof. Solomon said.
 

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