The global trade system is not neutral. Constructed during the second half of the 20th century, trade rules tend to support the interests of the major trading nations and corporations of that era, while the priorities of the South and the global 99% have routinely been sidelined. Today, while the system can impact us all, affecting our climate, jobs, work conditions, public services and the supply and prices of essential goods, the systematic exclusion of Southern countries from the top-table of trade decision-making has caused Southern perspectives and interests to be sidelined. In this panel we invite eminent speakers from three continents to reflect on these challenges, presenting their perspectives on the trade system, and sharing their priorities for change.
The edited volume Visions of African Unity. New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects (palgrave macmillan, 2021) by Frank Gerits and Matteo Grilli (eds), is an ambitious and welcome publication on varying but complimentary aspects of Pan-Africanism in the 20th and 21st centuries. The book´s forte lies not only in its historical approach to the topic at hand but also in the bringing together of current research angles on matters of African unity, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the later African Union (AU). Also, the diverse set of contributing authors in terms of geography (Africa, Europe, USA), professional backgrounds, and gender makes this publication a welcome read.
The handover agreement signed by the University of Aberdeen and the Nigerian stakeholders transferred copyright in images of the Benin bronze to the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments. However, the University of Aberdeen was granted a non-exclusive licence to use the images for any non-commercial purpose. Similarly, the agreement provides that all images and information relating to the Benin bronze held by the University of Aberdeen will be supplied on request by the Nigerian stakeholders at no cost and with no restrictions on their use. In this interview, Dr Titilayo Adebola, Editor, Afronomicslaw.org and Associate Director, Centre for Commercial Law, University of Aberdeen discusses the University’s repatriation of the Benin bronze alongside the role of museums in the co-production of knowledge with Mr Curtis. Mr Curtis initiated and facilitated the negotiations for the repatriation of the Benin bronze with the Nigerian stakeholders (the Oba of Benin’s palace, Edo State Government and the Nigerian Government) on behalf of the University of Aberdeen.
This is an exciting book that develops a multi-disciplinary perspective on cross-border financial flows, grounded in Marxist political economy. While the book certainly speaks to a diverse set of literatures, in this brief review I’d like to relate this work to broader debates about dependency theory and decolonizing economics.
This blog piece is a reflection on the core arguments from Professor Gonzalez’s lecture. Notably, Professor Gonzalez explored the relationship between environmental degradation and human economic activity. Within this general theme, Professor Gonzalez discussed the link between human economic activity, climate change, capitalism, colonialism and its aftermath, and modernity. This piece will also evaluate Professor Gonzalez’s thoughts on how the actions adopted to combat climate change marginalise the Global South and perpetuate further exploitation of fragile ecosystems across the world. Finally, this piece will outline and analyse Professor Gonzalez’s arguments on the current technological advancements to address climate change and their impact in the Global South.
February 15, 2020
This post-lecture reflection captures critical discussions from the 6th guest lecture of the Academic Forum delivered by Professor Mohsen al Attar, Dean of the University of West Indies Law School. The theme of the guest lecture was 'Decolonisation of International Economic Law'. Focusing on five tenets - capitalism, epistemology/knowledge, colonialism, international law and political economy – which Professor Mohsen used as a frame to foreground his analysis, this piece, explores the prospects and challenges of decolonising International Economic Law. In keeping with the Academic Forum's focus, it is argued that uncritical/Eurocentric approaches to teaching IEL in African universities hamper efforts to decolonise our epistemologies. In exploring alternate ways to re-frame, the global economic order, this piece also highlights the idea of 'social justice' as a valuable metric of development, i.e. socio-economic equity that raises the standard of living to the greatest extent relative to each of our circumstances.
I propose that it is our current and future battles that will determine the meaning and impact of decolonisation in Africa and beyond. As things stand now, the dead are certainly not safe. Let me elaborate on this claim drawing from Professor Taylor’s work: his piece draws from the classics of Third Worldist Marxism and dependency theory to provide a sober account of Africa’s nominally post-colonial present.
The question of whether decolonisation stalled in the Global South has been addressed in some form for as long as the concept of decolonisation has been present in our world. As many educational institutions across the world, and especially in the Global North, begin to include ‘decolonising’ in their knowledge transmission agendas, connecting this question with the past, present and future of all aspects of the colonial project has never been more important. This short essay argues firstly that the question itself relies on certain presumptions that should be revisited. Secondly, the essay argues that the answer itself is complex and depends on where our gaze primarily lies – state or people.
In this symposium, our contributors react to Prof Taylor’s paper by interrogating embedded structures of knowledge generation and creation, economic development in Latin America, international law, disadvantageous investment agreements, and continental integration. In particular, the essays explore how these arrangements reshape traditional centre-periphery relations.