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CSGD Seminar: Towards a theory of development and development studies of liberation

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 13:00 to 14:00

Join the Centre for the Study of Global Development for a seminar discussion with Dr Sebeka Plaatjie on development studies.


We have stated elsewhere that development is primarily about improving the wellbeing of human beings, and that preservation of life is the foremost condition for development to recognize itself. This prescript of development of preservation of life enjoins humanity and development studies by extension, to recognize and to action several interrelated principles pursuant to the ethos of preservation of life and its healthy ecosystem, for the liberation of humanity. In this discussion, I propose some of these core principles and discuss these. These principles are interrelated and are by no means exhaustive and include the following:

  • Commitment to elevation of sameness and depoliticization of difference,

  • Centrality of human life in development, 

  • Commitment to justice,

  • Founding of development ethics,  

  • Development of new grammar for development and development studies, 

  • Antidogmatic, and  

  • Promotion of the politics of the holy – The foundation of the philosophy of politics

The first section of the discussion problematizes development and development studies in the modern era. This discussion is then followed by critical reflections on the said principles and an attempt to construct a theory of development and development studies of liberation.

Key words: Development; Development Studies; Liberation; Humanism.


Speaker bio

Dr Sebeka Richard Plaatjie is a senior lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at the University of South Africa (Unisa) where he has been teaching and supervising postgraduate students for more than a decade. He was part of the founding members of the African Decolonial Research Network (ADERN) in 2012 in South Africa, which was the very first de-colonial project on the Africa continent.

His research interest is in critical development discourse and methodologies of the global south, with particular focus on Africa and Africa philosophy. His work seeks to understand development (methodologies, practices, technologies, and epistemologies) from an Africa philosophical perspective, and to explore ways in which these can be applied in wider society to enrich the human experience. Dr Plaatjie has presented numerous papers on various themes at both national and international conferences with the most recent conference being held at the University of Lisbon in July in 2023, where he spoke at the closing plenary of the conference.

Dr Plaatjie served as deputy editor of Africanus Journal of Development Studies and produced special issues as guest editor in other journal houses. Dr Plaatje is also an author of several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, some of which are being used for study material for students in Development Studies and African Studies at various universities. Dr Plaatjie has also served as the President of The South African Development Studies Association (SADSA) since 2021.

Register for the seminar on Eventbrite.

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