lecture  |  Sociology  |  Cluster of Excellence "Cultural Foundations of Integration"

Ways of Seeing, Ways of Doing, Ways of Knowing

Thursday, 12. October 2017
18.00 – 19.30

Universität Konstanz, Y 311

Thomas Kirsch, Melanie Brand

Prof. Daniel Magaziner (Yale)

Consciousness, Politics and Knowledge in the 20th century

Keynote Lecture of the workshop “Things You Really Need to Know: Awareness-Raising as a Socio-Cultural Practice”

Dan Magaziner is a historian of 20th century Africa at the Department of History, Yale University. An intellectual historian specializing in South Africa, he published his first book, The Law and the Prophets: Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1968 – 1977, in 2010. The Law and the Prophets is a history of political thought in 1970s South Africa, focusing especially on the ways that young South African activists deployed radical Christian, indigenous African and global 1960s ideas to reinvigorate resistance to the apartheid state. The Law and the Prophets grew out of his dissertation research at Wisconsin, for which he was awarded a Fulbright Hays, and various other awards.


This talk will consider three different instances of changing minds, which are also instantiations of how global intellectual were grounded in the historical milieu of 20th century South Africa (with an important Kenyan spur). By examining in turn politicization / consciousness raising in the struggle against apartheid, institutional and self-knowledge in an apartheid-era school and research as activism in a post-colonial university, I will demonstrate the ways in which ideas about pedagogy influence different forms of political praxis across multiple scales - social, individual, etc.

My focus will be on the ways in which knowledge production is a contingent process, despite powerful investments in predetermining the outcome of that process. By putting the seemingly distinct efforts of the Black Consciousness Movement and the Bantu Education system into conversation, I show how ideological stalwarts build off of context both to promote and to limit improvisation in knowledge production.

I then contrast these efforts with the much more modest attempts by researchers at the University of Nairobi during the 1970s to cast themselves as learners and thus to develop an ideology of research that could avoid broader cultural, political and other entanglements.