ECAS keynote speaker Issa Shivji – law and development expert

Professor Issa Shivji will be one of the keynote speakers at the 4th European Conference on African Studies in Uppsala, 15-18 June 2011. At present, Issa Shivji, who is one of Africa's leading experts on law and development issues, holds the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair in Pan-African Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam.

He has researched, written and published extensively on a broad range of issues including the land question in Africa and the state of African political economy, human rights, labour, higher education and the politics of recognition and representation. He was a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Dar es Salaam for 36 years before his retirement in 2006.

For many years, he has called for the resurrection of a radical, people driven Pan-Africanism. The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) has been important in this regard as an institution that epitomizes the Pan-Africanism he would want to resurrect. As a founding member, Issa Shivji has played important roles in the life of CODESRIA.

ECAS4 will explore who are, and can be Africa’s real partners in the quest for mutually beneficial (re)-engagements and on whose terms. It will seek to understand the current changes in the continent, and open up for debate on how the world can engage a changing Africa on an equitable basis.

In one of Issa Shivji’s most recent publications ‘Accumulation in an African periphery: a theoretical framework’, he argues that the global crisis has created an opening for the global South, in particular Africa, to refuse to follow the world capitalist system, whatever the rules. He suggests that it is time to rethink and revisit the development direction and strategies on the continent.

Issa Shivji is a prolific writer and researcher, producing books, monographs and articles, as well as weekly columns in national newspapers. His writings often build a narrative of where Tanzania is coming from, and provide a historical understanding of the events and climate of the present.

In ‘Where Is Uhuru?: Reflections on the Struggle for Democracy in Africa’, he asks if there is any freedom in Africa. He offers a critical examination of multiparty politics, the dividends from a new constitutional dispensation, the processes of land reform, women’s rights, property and the pan-Africanist project for emancipation.

Issa Shivji has served as advocate of the high court and the Court of Appeal of Tanzania since 1977 and advocate of the high court in Zanzibar since 1989. He has taught and worked in universities all over the world, including the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Warwick, the University of Hong Kong and El Colegio De Mexico. He has published some twenty books, and over a hundred articles.

Find out more about Issa Shivji’s publications.

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