Invitation to the TB Davie Memorial Lecture

15 August 2017
VC Desk


15 August 2017

Dear colleagues and students

You are invited to the 2017 TB Davie Memorial Lecture, where Professor Mahmood Mamdani will speak on “Decolonising the Post-Colonial University”. The lecture is to be held at 17:30 for 18:00 on Tuesday, 22 August, at the New Lecture Theatre.

In this lecture Professor Mamdani will consider the question: What does it mean to decolonise the post-colonial university, an authorised centre of knowledge production? In one form or another, this question has been at the centre of discussions in African universities in the period after independence. He will focus on some of the discussions that have taken place at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Makerere University in Kampala, and the Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA). What relevance, if any, do these discussions have for contemporary discussions in South Africa?

Professor Mamdani is the executive director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology, African Studies and Political Science at Columbia University, New York. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1974 and specialises in the comparative study of colonialism since 1452, and the question of civil war and mass violence. Mamdani was a professor at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania (1973–79), Makerere University (1980–93) and the University of Cape Town (1996–99). 

He was listed as one of the top 20 public intellectuals by Foreign Policy (US) and Prospect (UK) magazines in 2008, and served as president of CODESRIA from 1998 to 2002.

He has written extensively on colonialism and post-colonialism; on civil wars, political identity and extreme violence in Darfur; the post-9/11 era; and Rwanda. One of his books, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism, published in 1996, was awarded the Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association of the US for the best book in English in African Studies for that year. It was also acclaimed as one of the 100 best books on Africa written in the 20th century in the scholarship/non-fiction category at the Cape Town Book Fair in 2002. 

The TB Davie Memorial Lecture is held in recognition of former UCT vice-chancellor Thomas Benjamin Davie, who served the university from 1948 to 1955. Davie was a fearless defender of the principles of academic freedom and university autonomy, defining academic freedom as the university’s right to determine who shall be taught, who shall teach, what shall be taught, and how it should be taught.

In the current context of a national call for free, decolonised education, which has been at the centre of protests in higher education, Professor Mamdani is an ideal speaker to help frame academic freedom and university autonomy through the decolonial lens. 

The chair of the Academic Freedom Committee, Associate Professor Elelwani Ramugondo, and I look forward to your joining us for this event.

When: Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Where: New Lecture Theatre, University Avenue South, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town

Time: 17:30 for 18:00

RSVP: Please RSVP online, or via email or phone 021 650 3730 by Sunday, 20 August.

Please note: Due to limited space, seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.