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in Zimbabwe Conference
November 08, 2010
in Zimbabwe Conference, organised by the Mass
Public Opinion Institute, Bulawayo
Agenda and the University of Johannesburg was held in Bulawayo
from November 3-6, 2010.
Bond's summary report back on the conference here
- Concept Paper
- The Philosophy
of Progress and Zimbabwe -
of Progress: Zimbabwean Historiography -
- Landed Economies:
Farming & Farmers Then & Now -
Cursed or Blessed Political Economies?
and Progress in Zimbabwe -
Heroes, National Shrines and Joshua Nkomo's Legacy: Policy Implications?
- Economy and
Society Restructured: New Formations of Labour and Capital -
Past, Present and Future -
- The Parties
& Their Politics -
- Civil Society:
Strategies for Emancipation -
Gender, Ethnicity, Race, Displacement - Read
Compared: 'Progress' in the Rest of Africa -
Perspectives on Progressive Policies
severe crisis - and a possible way out of it with a transitional
government - and the new era for which it prepares the ground -
demands a coherent scholarly response. 'Progress' can
be employed as an organising theme across many disciplinary approaches
to Zimbabwe's societal devastation and reconstruction. At
wider levels too, the concept of progress is fitting. It underpins
'modern', 'liberal' and 'radical'
perspectives of development pervading the social sciences and humanities.
Yet perceptions of 'progress' are subject increasingly
to intensive critical inquiry.
Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia indicates
the 'pessimistic' side of the progress coin. John Hoffman
(a retired professor with a long involvement in left-wing Zimbabwean
politics), whose John Gray and the Problem of Utopia is a sophisticated
rebuttal to this pessimism, will launch the conference with a survey
of the ideas underpinning 'progress' and their relevance
to Africa and Zimbabwe.
For many analysts,
the end of progress is signified in the political projects of Robert
Mugabe and ZANU-PF - not to mention the government of national unity.
This conference will interrogate Zimbabwean history and its current
conjuncture through the lens of the idea of 'progress'
in the social science disciplines closely associated with politics
and policy as well as the investigation of the structures underpinning
will be expected to engage directly in debates about how the idea
of 'progress' has informed their disciplines - from
political science and history to labour and agrarian studies - and
then relate these arguments to the Zimbabwean case in general and
their research in particular, within the context of the Zimbabwean
academic discourse in their discipline. Strategy options for civil
society activists and policy alternatives for state and business
will emerge from the conference, as it has a special mandate to
merge academia and activism with progressive praxis in mind.
We will organise
the sessions in clusters involving scholars and activists old and
new, one or two of whom in each cluster will be lead authors of
articles in a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary African
Studies edited by Norma Kriger, David Moore, and Brian Raftopoulos,
devoted to this topic. Members of a new generation in the respective
disciplines will be involved in the disciplinary based sessions
and the formation of the main authors' contributions. They
will also become involved in the formation of an association of
young social scientists. As well, activists in civil society and
political parties will be encouraged to attend and participate in
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