Co-production in the Anthropocene: Views from the South
In this symposium the speakers each present their perspectives on co-production in the Anthropocene before engaging in a moderated panel discussion.
Not least informed by Sheila Jasanoff’s argument about how society and science must be seen as co-produced, recent years have seen a proliferation of debates in Africa and beyond about the societal and political role of science. Such debates have included a critique of the hegemonies of Western thought and its often racialized genealogies and institutional moorings, calls for decolonization or pluralization of scientific and epistemological frameworks, as well as renewed attempts to bridge planetary divisions in the Anthropocenic age.
This symposium will reflect on these processes, asking:
- How do we understand the processes of co-production of science and society in the age of the Anthropocene?
- In what ways does such co-production differ between the Northern and Southern hemisphere?
- Is there a common ground to be established across these hemispheres and multiform divides?
The event has free admission and will also be openly accessible to watch live on the Holberg Prize YouTube Channel. If you wish to attend in person, please register here:
14:00-15:30 SAST Co-production in the Anthropocene: Views from the South.
Venue: WISER, 6th Floor Richard Ward Building, University of Witwatersrand.
15:30-16:00 SAST Tea/Coffee
Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School. A pioneer in the social sciences, she explores the role of science and technology in the law, politics, and policy of modern democracies. Jasanoff founded and directs the STS Program at Harvard University. She was awarded the Holberg Prize in 2022. Her books include The Fifth Branch (1990), Science at the Bar (1995), Designs on Nature (2005), The Ethics of Invention (2016), and Can Science Make Sense of Life? (2019).
Lesley Green is Professor of Anthropology and Co-Founder of Environmental Humanities South (EHS) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She currently serves as EHS Director, leading its curriculum innovation to develop transdisciplinary, African environmental scholarship. Now in its ninth year, EHS has hosted students from nineteen African countries and supports the emergence of an African ecopolitics. A former Fulbright Scholar at the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz; Mandela Fellow at Harvard; Rockefeller Humanities Fellow at the Smithsonian, and Cheney Fellow at the University of Leeds' School of Earth and Environment, her research focuses on justice-based environmental governance sciences in Southern Africa. A particular interest is in the relationship between science and democracy in the global south where there are contests over knowledges. As a former Council Member of the Society for Social Studies of Science, she is active in global science studies dialogues, and was recently awarded a US4M, four-year grant by Science For Africa, for a six-country project along Africa's Indian Ocean coast, to develop an African critical zone social science scholarship, in partnership with South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council. She is the editor of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (HSRC, 2013), co-author of Knowing the Day, Knowing the World (Arizona, 2013), and author of Rock | Water | Life: Ecology and Humanities for a Decolonising South Africa (Duke / Wits, 2020) which won the Humanities Book Prize awarded by the Academy of Science of South Africa in 2023. A forthcoming collection titled Contested Ecologies 2: African Ecopolitics of Dignity and Desire (co-edited by Lesley Green, Frank Matose, Anselmo Matusse, Nikiwe Solomon) will be out in 2023/2024.
Dilip M. Menon is a Professor of History and International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He was educated at the universities of Delhi, Oxford and Cambridge and received his PhD from Cambridge University. Before moving to South Africa in 2009, he has taught at Cambridge, Yale, Hyderabad and Delhi. His work deals with the social and intellectual history of South Asia and for the past decade has expanded to include oceanic histories and knowledge from the global south. His recent works include the edited volumes Capitalisms: Towards a Global History (Oxford 2020); Ocean as Method (Routledge, 2022); and Cosmopolitan Cultures and Oceanic Thought (Routledge, 2023). He was awarded the Falling Walls Foundation Prize for the Social Sciences and Humanities in 2021.
Alf Gunvald Nilsen
Alf Gunvald Nilsen is the Director of the Centre for Asian Studies in Africa at the University of Pretoria, where he also works as a professor in the Department of Sociology. His research focuses on the political economy of development and democracy in the global South, particularly oriented towards Asia and India. He is the author of numerous books, most recently Adivasis and the State: Subalternity and Citizenship in India's Bhil Heartland, published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. Alf is currently working on a comparative study of authoritarian populism across regions of the global South.
Achille Mbembe (Chair)
Achille Mbembe is a Research Professor in History and Politics (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) and the Director of the Innovation Foundation for Democracy at the University of Witwatersrand. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the British Academy, he is the author of ten books and his work has been translated into fifteen languages. His latest book is La communauté terrestre (Paris, La Découverte, 2023).
The Holberg Prize, established by the Norwegian Parliament in 2003, is an international prize worth NOK 6,000,000, awarded annually to a scholar who has made outstanding contributions to research in the humanities, social science, law or theology, either in one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work. The Holberg Prize is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and hosted by the University of Bergen, Norway.
The Innovation Foundation for Democracy is a new initiative that was established in 2022. The Foundation aims to rejuvenate democracy in Africa, particularly amongst young people, through research and training initiatives and innovative democratic projects. The Foundation is hosted by the Wits University from where it serves the continent.