Gillian Hart is Professor of Geography and Co-chair of Development Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and an Honorary Research Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has worked in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysia on questions of agrarian change, labor, and gender. Since the early 1990s she has been deeply engaged in research and writing for academic and popular audiences in her native South Africa. More recently, her work has addressed debates over globalization, neoliberalism, and the rise of new social movements.
In this lecture, Professor Hart will engage critically with Partha Chatterjee’s enormously influential analysis of civil society and political society in The Politics of the Governed (2004) and several subsequent writings. This framework has gained traction in many parts of the world, including South Africa. Drawing on her forthcoming book, Rethinking the South African Crisis, the talk will illustrate the key limitations of Chatterjee’s approach, and why an alternative approach is important. The talk will also draw on debates surrounding primitive accumulation and methods of relational comparison explored in her 2006 article, “Denaturalizing Dispossession: Critical Ethnography in the Age of Resurgent Imperialism.
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