Mapping democratic decline, imagining democratic futures | 14-16 Feb | Pretoria

Friday, 16 February, 2024 - 23:00

Dear Colleagues – I hope this finds you all very well.

It is my pleasure to invite you to CASA’s first in-person event of 2024.

In collaboration with the Innovation Foundation for Democracy and its director, Prof Achille Mbembe, we are hosting the symposium Mapping Democratic Decline, Imagining Democratic Futures: Transregional Dialogues Across Asia and Africa from 14 to 16 February at the University of Pretoria.


A full and detailed programme here of the symposium. As you will see, we have four exciting panels lined up to foster critical and comparative dialogues about processes of democratic decline and prospects for building democratic futures in and across the two continents, on 15 and 16 February respectively.


I would also like to call your attention to the following three events taking place in the afternoon across the three days of the symposium:


· Keynote lecture: Prof Adam Hanieh (University of Exeter) will open the symposium with the keynote lecture Democratic Struggles at a Time of Global Crises: What Can We Learn from the Middle East? Prof Hanieh will reflect on what democratic futures might look like in the MENA region some ten years after the Arab uprising and in the context of the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Venue: The Javett Arts Centre               Date/time: 14 February, 4:00 pm


· Book panel: Prof Nivedita Menon (Jawaharlal Nehru University) will discuss her new book, Secularism as Misdirection: Critical Thought from the Global South (Duke University Press, 2023). In her book, Prof Menon put contemporary Indian discussions on secularism and democracy in a comparative perspective with wider debates in the global South.

Venue: The Lounge, Old College House           Date/time: 15 February, 2:00 pm


· Film screening: Sri Lankan filmmaker Sulochana Peiris will screen her documentary #GoHomeGota – The Story Behind Sri Lanka’s Hashtagged Protest Movement. Centred on interviews with several key activists, the film provides unique insights into the popular protests that overthrew the Rajapaksa regime in 2022. The film will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

Venue: Javett Arts Centre                       Date: 16 February, 2:30 pm


I hope the symposium will be of interest to you, and that many of you will find your way to UP’s Hatfield campus and the Javett Arts Centre in Pretoria for the events.

Please RSVP here


Please find a full programme with maps of the venues attached to this mail.


Warm regards,

Prof Alf Gunvald Nilsen


Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Pretoria

Director, the Centre for Asian Studies in Africa, University of Pretoria

WISER Research Theme: