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Research Platforms

Love & Revolution


Love and revolution is an inter-disciplinary research platform offering a series of colloquia in 2010-11. It widens the frame through which studies of liberation struggles, nationalism and political cultures have been understood, by insisting on the parallel treatment of ‘the personal’, be it the forces of desire, affiliation or emotion. In southern Africa for instance, popular cultural expressions since the 1960s suggest the transformation of individual subjectivities in the midst of nationalist political struggle and social change, especially in urban areas and exile camps. Love & revolution seeks to co-examine the social and the subjective, the political and the unconscious. There is the potential to explore the way these, and the forms and hierarchies of knowledge produced around them, have often obscured one another despite possible inter-connections. In discursive terms there are deployments of revolutionary language to express the personal, and narratives of affect with the mobilization of powerful symbols to lay claim to the political and the economic. By the same token, love & revolution instates the political at the heart of enquiries about gender, sexuality, aesthetics and creativity. The platform provides opportunities to question the dominant categories and archives of analysis, within the subcontinent and beyond. The thematic conjuncture of love & revolution interrogates the underpinnings of the nation and shifts in consciousness of the self and the other, and more philosophically, it raises questions about the humanities and humanity itself.

A launch conference in which scholars will explore love & revolution with no geographical limitation will take place on 28 – 30 October 2010. Participants are invited to submit a title and abstract by 30 August to the organizers.

Contact: Patricia Hayes at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Premesh Lalu at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

War & the everyday


‘War’ is used here in preference to terms such as violence, and includes armed struggle, civic resistance and civil war. It points to the force of big events, which shape lives, political and historical narratives, and counter-events. Obvious examples might be the South African military attack on Cassinga in 1978, ‘rebel’ acts in the eastern Congo, and the Rwandan genocide. The implications are not simply military, but deeply civilian.

Juxtaposing war with ‘the everyday’ has the potential for both the contradictory and the banal, for war penetrates and reconfigures the material and temporal structures of everyday life in ways that often become normalized and invisible in the aftermath. The potential frictions of this juxtaposition break open difficult questions about what remains unprocessed and unresolved within, and in the wake of, African struggles for freedom, both colonial and postcolonial. The ‘horror of everyday life’ is often a feature of post-conflict and post-apartheid societies, suggesting the re-direction of violence into less visible domains of poverty, marginalization, gender dynamics and anomie. Bracketing the everyday (the familiar, ordinary and mundane) with war (with its connotations of urgency and the technological sublime) serves to foreground what is normally treated as backdrop. Through this research platform, studies of everyday life in the SWAPO and ANC camps of liberation movements for example, and the quotidian of survivor (and perpetrator) narratives from Rwanda, complicate any unitary sense of colonisation, trauma, nation, liberation or modernization.

The ongoing series of colloquia on the theme of ‘war & the everyday’ commenced in 2008.

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