In collaboration with the University of Utrecht, and as a side event to this year’s LANDac Conference, INFRAGLOB co-organizes a workshop on “Studying infrastructures in Mozambique”, to be held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on July 3rd 2019. The event will discuss current research on infrastructure development in Mozambique, relating to issues of security, displacement and (international) extractive industries, among others.
In his presentation, Carlos Milani will introduce an analytical framework that shall contribute to understanding how and why rising powers engage in development cooperation with African countries. The framework encompasses hard and soft institutions (organizations, norms, discourses, visions, practices) of south-south development cooperation policies of countries such as South Africa, China, India, Brazil and Turkey. The timing is particularly conducive to discuss this topic, since such countries have begun to invest as emergent donors, both quantitatively and qualitativel, in several development sectors (public health, formal education and university cooperation, non-formal education, technical assistance projects, agricultural development, etc.) and in partnership with multilateral organizations, OCE-DAC donors and international businesses coming from their own countries. Their increasingly important role in south-south cooperation is not, however, without contradictions, especially regarding practices, discourses, visions and institutional constructions of these “rising states” in the African continent.
INFRAGLOB team member Eric Cezne (PhD Candidate, University of Groningen) was awarded a grant by the European International Studies Association (EISA) to lead an early career researchers workshop on the role of infrastructures in global politics. Organized in cooperation with Julie Marie Hansen from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the workshop ‘Exploring IR through Infrastructures: materiality as global politics’ took place in Prague, Czech Republic, on September 11, 2018, during the EISA’s Pan-European Conference.
The purpose of the workshop was to create a platform for effective exchange of knowledge and experiences among junior scholars. By taking the role of rising powers in infrastructure development, the geopolitics of energy infrastructures, and ICT infrastructures as heuristic points of departure, the workshop was aimed at critically inquiring about the ways in which the material is woven into global politics. Participants explored research synergies through paper presentations, discussions, and roundtables; sought to establish a network of junior scholars working on this topic; and gauged common interest in planning a joint-publication output.
Speaker: Karen Smith, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town and University Lecturer, Leiden University
Abstract: Reflection about the current or imminent transformation of world order has become the latest fixation of scholars of international relations. In the burgeoning literature about changing and future world order, most conceptions and discussions of the changing order are pre-occupied with two things: anxiety about the future role of the United States and the unpredictability of China’s agenda. While some attention is also paid to Europe, India and Brazil, the rest of the world is largely overlooked, and Africa in particular is either ignored entirely or treated as a footnote. This lecture aims to provide some views on the role Africa plays in the process of global reordering, and also how Africa will be affected by it. Coxian critical theory provides a useful entry point into helping us think about different aspects of world order. The triangular model, consisting of material forces, institutions and ideas enables us to explore the nature of the existing world order, its origin, and the possibilities for transformation.
Last Wednesday April 18th, INFRAGLOB and the Centre for International Relations Research hosted a lecture by Professor Rita Abrahamsen on African Visions of World Order.
In her talk, Rita Abrahamsen showed that as we fret about challenges to the current world order, we need to recognize the contributions of Africa and Pan-Africanism to the emergence of the liberal world order. That is; world order is/was also made by Southern/African actors, not just the hegemons. She will then argue that, somewhat counter-intuitively, Africa’s opposition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) can be seen as a continuation of the struggle for a more just, equitable world order rather than resistance to liberal multilateralism. At the same time, this opposition reveals longstanding tensions within Pan-Africanism, and its sovereignist and nativist expressions are in the current political climate potentially detrimental to the struggle for a more equal and democratic world order.
Speaker: Rita Abrahamsen, Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS), University of Ottawa.