In this talk, Joel will present some aspects of his ongoing research. The central concern is to interpret and narrate the archive of Pan-Africanist and black radical thought in “South Africa” and beyond in jurisprudential terms – that is, as a source of legal ideas about justice, freedom, equality, political power, social organisation, subjectivity. The anti-colonial and anti-imperialist analyses and critiques of state power, global white supremacy, intersubjective and structural racism, of the cultural and spiritual dehumanization of colonized peoples that thinkers in the Pan-Africanist black radical tradition elaborated and worked out in the course of political struggles reflect the concerns of a critical jurisprudence – maybe not an alternative jurisprudence but a jurisprudence that is otherwise.
His interest is to contemplate jurisprudence from the starting point of the black historical experience in the longue-duree; to engage the Pan-Africanist black radical tradition (specifically the Azanian political tradition) in order to interrogate and rethink the present – and in particular to challenge the historical, philosophical and political premises of the post-1994 South African legal and political order – particularly, as these are embodied and articulated in its constitution – which is often referred to as “the best constitution of the world” - a designation that now increasingly rings hollow and facile as it appears more clearly that South Africa of Mandela and after Mandela remains a fundamentally unequal, unreconciled and unsettled society. Much of this turns on the unresolved and persistent fault-line of race – and the deep, enduring trauma it signifies in South African social relations and subject positions. As he will argue, this is a project that takes place at the ends of white jurisprudence in “Africa, South”.
This is event is being organised by the Decolonising the Law Discussion Group.