HSRC Social Sciences Research Conference 2020

Radical Reason: The histories and futures of the social sciences and humanities from Africa

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Sol Plaatje University (SPU) will, together with their strategic partners, host an international conference from 26th - 28th October 2020 at SPU in Kimberley, South Africa. The event will bring together researchers and stakeholders from across the globe to consider anew the role of humanities and social science research in South Africa and Africa, within the context of the historical precursors and future effects of our current global condition.

The major focus of the Conference is to reflect on the role of knowledge from South Africa and the African continent in shaping past realities and future possibilities, and to draw on social science and humanities thought from Africa in thinking about how we understand forms of humanity today. The Conference also offers an opportunity to critically reflect on the globalisation of knowledge from Africa and to claim the centrality of this knowledge in both the enterprise of shaping new world forms and global agendas, and in understanding the contemporary challenges to humanity in South Africa, Africa and globally.

The Conference features as the concluding part of the commemoration projects and activities for the 50th Anniversary of the HSRC and 90th Anniversary of the HSRC’s predecessor, the National Bureau for Educational and Social Research (NBESR). The 50/90 anniversary commemoration is taken as an occasion on which to reflect upon the history and the contributions made by the HSRC to research in the social sciences and humanities in South Africa, the African continent, and the world.

Professor Crain Soudien, Chief Executive Officer of the HSRC, has said that “the conference seeks to bring together a wide community of researchers from across the world to reflect on the place of African thought within global society, both historically and in crafting new futures”.


Professor Mary Jean Baxen, Acting Vice-Chancellor of SPU, has commented: “at this conference we hope to foster new thinking on how knowledge produced by the African Social Sciences and Humanities has shaped how we construct notions such as place, heritage, and identity”.


Confirmed key note speakers include Professor Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Professor Tshepo Madlingozi, Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of Witwatersrand.

The conference call to papers will be released in March 2020, and further information will be available at www.hsrc.ac.za.

Contact details: Dr Rachel Adams, +27 21 466 7947 or radams@hsrc.ac.za.

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  • Conference Announcement Radical Reason: The histories and futures of the social sciences and humanities from Africa