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South Africa

South Africa



Call for Postdoctoral Fellows


The Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, is seeking applications from recently or soon to be completed doctoral students who require a host for funding applications for postdoctoral level research. This is not an offer of funding but of an institutional base to enhance a funding application.

SWOP is a vibrant Research Institute with a strong local and international reputation, which provides a collegial environment, the opportunity to collaborate in research projects, international research networks and other activities.

Current postdoctoral fellows are Dr Jacob Mati and Dr Ian Macqueen.

‘SWOP has been a great host for me. I enjoy the deep intellectual debates that SWOP affords everyone in the team, either through breakfast seminars, internal seminars or other visitors that deliver papers.’ Jacob Mati

‘SWOP has provided me with a very supportive home in which to conduct my research. I particularly enjoy the emphasis on engaged research, which sees collaboration with partners outside of the university. We meet weekly to discuss our work and host regular seminars for the public and academics.’ Ian Macqueen


Applications should be consistent with SWOP’s vision to ‘generate a southern perspective on society, work and precariousness through the production of scholarly, engaged and innovative social knowledge’.

Applications should speak to one or more of SWOP’s research clusters and thus contribute to developing our research programmes.


The respective research clusters and co-ordinators are:

– The politics of Precarious Society – Professor Karl von Holdlt

– Mining and Social Transformation – Dr Gavin Capps and Professor Dunbar Moodie

– Decent Work and Development – Professor Eddie Webster

– Nature and Society – Professor Jacklyn Cock

– Gender and social reproduction

– Labour and social movements in Southern Africa


Enquiries can be directed to Miss Abnavien King at or to the respective research cluster co-ordinators.

While SWOP does not directly provide postdoctoral fellowships, it will support your application to the relevant funding organisation.

From time to time we post news of calls for postdoctoral fellowships on our website.



University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Call for 5 Postdoctoral Fellowships in Research and Social Justice (2 years)

An exciting new concept!

This postdoctoral program, generously funded by Ford Foundation, provides focused support for both research publication and concrete engagement with social justice issues and campaigns. You will be located at a Research Institute that combines cutting edge scholarly research with rich experience of supporting labour, women’s, social and environmental movements, as well as progressive government institutions, engaging in struggles to change the world we live in. You will have the time and support to conduct and publish research and lay the foundation for your academic career, as well as participate in an innovative social justice program. You will participate in a collegial and progressive community of scholars.


The Institute

The Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) conducts relevant and exciting research on work, labour and social movements, mining and social transformations, environmental crisis, gender orders and contestation, the informalisation of work, society and politics, protest movements, patronage and civil society, collective and political violence, and the challenges of citizenship and democracy. The Institute collaborates with academics, grassroots organizations and government across South Africa and internationally, and is a collegial, team-working organization committed to developing a new generation of researchers and intellectuals. It is located in the most vibrant Humanities Faculty in South Africa, in a university known for cutting edge social sciences research.


The Program

The Fellowship program will include mentoring by experienced scholars, training in writing and presentation skills, research opportunities including research funding, and the opportunity to discuss your work in a vibrant network of scholars. The social justice component will include critical seminars on the interface between academic research and public engagement, and include a social justice project linked to work in labour and broader social movements, grassroots organising and advocacy, public interest litigation/transformative constitutionalism, and efforts to progressively influence policy-making and legislative processes.

This is a full-time programme and is not compatible with other employment. Fellows will be expected to work closely with research staff, and to participate fully in the intellectual life of the institute. Each Fellow’s work programme will fit their specific goals, whether this means focusing on translating PhD research into publications, or undertaking new research and taking this through to publication. Candidates will explain how their own (completed or planned) research is linked to or has implications for social justice. It is preferable that applicants’ work should be broadly aligned with the thematic focuses in SWOP, which include:


  • extractive industries, labour regimes and rural transformations
  • precarious work and social protection
  • environment and society
  • democracy, violence, community formation, movements and citizenship
  • informalisation of work, society and politics
  • changing gender regimes.

The emphasis is on ‘broadly’, such that candidates are able to explore their own interests and adopt fresh perspectives.


Period of Fellowship:

Applications are invited from all continents. The Fellowships will start on 1 May 2015 and cover a period of two years. Fellows will receive funding of R220 000 per year plus medical insurance, and in addition substantial research funding. The second year is conditional on performance in the first year. Applicants must have completed and been awarded their PhDs (though not necessarily graduated) in the social sciences or related fields. There will be two calls for applications, the first closing on 15 December, the second closing 30 February 2015. Potential applicants who anticipate being awarded their PhD’s by 30 February should forward their applications for pre-selection by 15 December as well.

APPLICATION: To apply, please submit the following:

A detailed cover letter motivating your application, including a statement of your current research interests, its relevance to social justice concerns, and outlining what you wish to do with your postdoc Fellowship, should it be awarded to you. Also indicate what publications you might produce during your fellowship, and whether these are to be drawn from completed research or would require additional research.

A brief essay (2 pages) problematising the relationship between academic research and social justice activism, including reflections on your own research field.

A detailed and updated CV.

A copy of two recent publications, or two chapters of your PhD.

Names and contact details (including email addresses) of three referees.

Applications and enquiries should be sent to  or posted to Mondli Hadebe, Society Work and Development Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa

Closing date for applications: 15 December 2014


Further details:



‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:


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An International Conference

Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, December 6-7, 2012


Key note speakers:

Judith Revel

Paolo Virno (tbc)

Giorgio Vasta

Maurizio Lazzerato (tbc)


Call for Papers

This international conference is the third and last in a cycle of conferences that started last year in Amsterdam, and continued at Chapel Hill (USA) in May 2012, and is part of the international research project Precarity and Post- autonomia: the Global Heritage, funded by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) which involves several Dutch universities (Universiteit Leiden/ Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Universiteit Utrecht) in collaboration with two North-American Universities (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. The project aims at stimulating the debate on today’s developments in “autonomist” movements, born mainly from Italy’s workers movements during the Seventies, and to connect these currents with a broader reflection on the topic of precarity within globalized capitalism.

The title of the conference originates in a newspaper article by the young Sicilian writer Giorgio Vasta in which he unpacks the identikit of the new generations. Vasta feels that those born in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, have grown up with the perception of the ‘end of the present’ and of the present as the ‘end’. If this impossibility or incapacity of having a perspective is proper to today’s youth, then this, says Vasta, should become their stronghold: “Because if our connotation is uncertainty – alienation not as an anomaly but as a permanent experience of the real – in that case it becomes fundamental to not turn uncertainty into an alibi but to use it as a tool for knowledge. To have the courage of uncertainty” (La Repubblica, 6-10-2009).

This uncertainty mentioned by Vasta is synonymous with crisis, with a two-faced precarity that therefore becomes ambivalent and that is not longer recomposable into a dialectical object. On the one hand the condition of economic insecurity, caused by the traumatic consequences of so-called labour “flexibility” in globalized capitalism, reduces the subject to a (biopolitical) state of permanent precarity. On the other hand, however, the claim of an identity that is precarious and resistant at the same time, and which is located outside and against the capitalist system, would entail that there still exists a margin from which we can pronounce a cultural critique. If we move our attention towards the ‘creative industries’, these seem to have incorporated precarity as a mode of cultural production. If this is true, the question is to determine the margin of “relative heteronomy” acceptable to survive economically without sacrificing artistic liberty. This could be a way to consider initiatives such as the Coordination des intermittents et précaires d’Ile de France in France and the occupation of the Valle Theatre in Rome, supported by the Generation TQ, the movement of cognitive laborers between thirty-forty ( One may ask what type of autonomy is envisioned by the artists’ resistance against capitalism and if their confinement to an “autonomous” margin could lead, on the contrary, towards the depoliticization of the aesthetic of the avant- gardes? What does marginality mean if we start from a general precarization of public and private space? In the past decade, art institutions and academic contexts have become privileged spaces for conversations concerning both the (partly subversive) knowledge of the precarious, and a search for commons (in order to constitute the political). As for academic contexts, a reference can be made to EduFactory (, a transnational collective that focuses on conflicts and transformation of the university.

Narratives of precarity express two components: that of an inquiry of and a charge against post-Fordist society, and that of the creation of a new kind of precarious ontology. The case-study of Italy seems particularly interesting because it offers the opportunity to analyze the palimpsest both of a history of long duration, transmitted by (post)autonomous workers movements and radical thought in 1970s Italy, and a recent history of social movements that starts from the (tragic) events of the G8 summit at Genoa (2001) – but many other countries and movements must be taken into account, from the first EuroMayDay parade (2001), to the Madrid-based feminist activist group “Precarias a la deriva” (2004), to the transnational indignados movement (2011, Spain) and to the Occupy movement.

The intention of the conference is thus to establish a link between transnational narratives of precarity – narrative in the broad sense of storytelling, including various representational and performative arts in prose and in poetry – and different types of cultural activism. The central question is whether such cultures of resistance, when embedded within art institutions or social movements, do not risk becoming expressions of containment policies, of strategies of ‘governmentality’ (Foucault) that conforms the precarious subject to the cultural logic of capitalism. If the absence of dialectics allows instead for a multidirectional relationship between object and subject, the question is whether this ambivalence of precariousness may become a new way of being that invites an artistic and political revisioning of cultural activism operating at the margins. Therefore the conference also questions whether the ways of creating narratives, and indeed forms of representation of precarity, undergo the same dynamics as the biopolitical subject. Language itself is put into a state of precariousness, and comes to war with itself.


Topics include but are not limited to:

            -­‐  Aesthetics of precarity in arts and in social movements

            -­‐  Forms of cultural activism

            -­‐  Cultural “events” of precarity

            -­‐  Precarity and memory

            -­‐  The luxury of precarity? Whose precarity?

            -­‐  The aesthetization of precarity

            -­‐  Precarity and new forms of cultural production (i.e. the ‘creative industries’)

            -­‐  Precarization as constituent power

            -­‐  Precarity and new forms of local, regional or global ethics of ‘relationality’

            -­‐  A ‘geo-aesthetics’ of precarity 


The languages of the conference are English, French, and Italian.

Abstracts of about 200 words together with a brief biography should be sent before 09/20/2012 to the following two Email addresses: /  

Acceptance of proposals will be communicated by 10/15/2012. 

Scientific Project and Organization: Silvia Contarini (Paris Ouest Nanterre) and Monica Jansen (UtrechtUniversity).

In collaboration with: Luca Marsi and Christophe Mileschi (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre); Judith Revel (Université Paris 1) NWO partners: Vincenzo Binetti (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Joost de Bloois (University of Amsterdam), Silvia Contarini (Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense), Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam), Federico Luisetti (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Monica Jansen (Utrecht University).

Originally published at:  




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‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  


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MSc in Labour, Social Movements and Development

SOAS, University of London

This new programme is concerned with labour conditions and relations, social movements of labour and their contributions to development processes and changes in the Global South.

 It is the first MSc programme of its kind in the UK dedicated to Labour, Social Movements and Development. Students will have the opportunity to experience policy-making and labour campaigns in practice. They will participate in our interactive sessions to devise policies; and design and implement regional, national and international labour campaigns.

The MSc draws on the expertise of staff in the Department of Development Studies, specialising in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It benefits from our contacts within the field, including with NGOs and international organisations.

The MSc degree will focus on:

  • Labour process and organisations in the South
  • A comparative history of labour and social movements in countries such asChina,Korea,India,South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East
  • The impact of neoliberalism and globalisation on workers in the South 
  • Informalisation of labour, casualisation and precarious work
  • Feminisation of labour
  • Forced labour and child labour 
  • Rural labour, migrant labour and labour in Export Processing Zones
  • Household and reproductive labour
  • The International Labour Organisation, international labour standards and decent work
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives, codes of conduct and anti-sweatshop campaigning
  • Theories and practices of local, national and international labour campaigns

For further information please visit the following link:


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Thursday, November 4
6:00pm – 8:00pm
OPSEU Union Hall
31 Wellesley St. East, Toronto

As migrant workers continue to die, labour activists and community groups must gather together, to reignite a new fight. This is a fight that creates far-reaching changes and challenges the very root of people’s inability to access real safety – immigration status and racism.

Join community groups and labour activists to discuss and demand:

– Moratorium on deportations for all workers with WSIB claims and MOL complaints
– Access to Health and Safety without Fear
– Status for injured workers and their families
– Status for All!

For more info:



Tuesday October 26, 2010
7 to 9 pm
Ryerson Student Centre, Room A/B (Second floor)
63 Gould St. Toronto
One block north of Dundas on the corner of Church St.

Join us for a panel discussion with labour activists from the private and public sector sharing successful strategies to fight back against the challenges working people, communities and labour are facing due to corporate greed, cutbacks and the crisis of capitalism. There will be time for questions and discussions for those in attendance.

– Don Guest, First Vice President Brantford District Labour Council & Organizer for 3 Days of Solidarity Picket for USW 1-500 Striking Workers in Brantford.
– Michael Hurley, President Ontario Council of Hospital Unions & CUPE Ontario 1st Vice-President.
– Representative from Unite Here Local 75.
– Moderator: Ilian Burbano, Co-President CUPE 3393 & Organizer with Latin American Solidarity Network.

This forum is organized by the Labour Caucus of the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly (


(co-written with Tariq Ali)

Oct 27, 2010
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Bloor Cinema
506 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Toronto, ON

There’s a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn’t know about it. Oliver Stone undertakes a road trip across South America exploring the myths behind the movements leading the cultural, social and political transformation that is sweeping across the continent. As well he delves into the American corporate media’s intentional misrepresentation of South America while interviewing many of its democratically elected presidents.

Watch the trailer:

For more info:



Lecture by: Professor Frances Fox Piven, CUNY Graduate Center.

A leading scholar and political activist, Frances Fox Piven was recently president of the American Sociological Association and is former Vice-President of the American Political Science Association. Her most recent book is Keeping Down the Black Vote (2009).

Moderated by John Myles, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto

Watch the video:



November 3, 2010
Ontario Federation of Labour Building
15 Gervais Drive, Toronto
Reception 5:30 pm, Dinner 6:00 pm
Cash Bar

Hosted by: United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, Agricultural Workers Alliance and the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation

Award recipients: Paul Cavalluzzo, Olivia Chow, Vincenzo Pietropaolo, Kerry Preibisch, Leonel Godoy and Gil McGowan

The award dinner is held in memory of Cesar E. Chavez, who died in 1993, following a lifelong struggle to secure basic human rights and social justice for migrant farm workers. This event continues to be an important fundraiser in support of the AWA, an organization which is dedicated to supporting and providing information and resources to the agriculture and migrant farm workers who toil on Canadian soil.

More info: or (416) 675-1104 ext. 2244




by Duncan Cameron,

The minister of finance has made his Fall Economic Update. We wanted to hear what he had to say about government spending — but we didn’t. Why? Because the real story is one of austerity.

The federal finance minister promised Canadians a look at what is happening with the economy. On the surface, the job is fairly straightforward. James Flaherty has to say whether the economy is growing, or not; and he has to say what he intends to do about it.

Read more:



Former British health minister could not be clearer: increased privatization has meant increased costs. Frank Dobson, British MP, was keynote speaker at the CUPE health care sector meeting in Victoria, British Columbia, on Thursday, October 21.

Read more:



by Robert Reich,

It’s a perfect storm. And I’m not talking about the impending dangers facing Democrats. I’m talking about the dangers facing our democracy.

First, income in America is now more concentrated in fewer hands than it’s been in 80 years. Almost a quarter of total income generated in the United States is going to the top 1 percent of Americans.

Read more:



by Michael Moore

I have a rule of thumb that’s served me well my whole life: whenever corporate executives begin talking about how they support “free markets” and “competition,” check to see if you still have your wallet.

Read more:



Author discusses new book on “corporatization, the assault on academic freedom, and the end of the American university.”

Read more:



Anne M. Butler
Journal of Urban History published 21 October 2010, 10.1177/0096144210384251


Jodi Jan Kaufmann
Adult Education Quarterly 2010;60 456-476


Eliza Ferguson
Journal of Urban History published 18 October 2010, 10.1177/0096144210384247


Tom Stehlika
Journal of Education and Work, Volume 23 Issue 4 2010



The Labour Caucus of the Greater Toronto Worker’s Assembly is planning a conference at the end of January 2011 to bring together and create a space for working class people to explore strategies and build capacity for resistance and mobilizing to win within our unions, workplaces and our communities. To assist in the planning and coordination we are hiring an organizer for 10 weeks to prepare for the conference and to take on tasks assigned by the Free and Accessible Transit Campaign.

The person will need to have the following skills, experience and abilities:

– demonstrated experience in organizing in labour and/or in the community
– strong communication skills
– experience organizing events, workshops and/or forums
– commitment to the principals of the Worker’s Assembly which include an anti-capitalist perspective and radical anti-oppression politics
– understanding that class expands beyond the organized labour movement
– able to work independently

The organizer will attend Labour Caucus meetings and meetings with the Free and Accessible Transit campaign. The organizer’s daily work will be the responsibility of a subcommittee that includes members of the Labour Caucus and the Transit Campaign and there will be a designated member to support and work with the organizer. The successful individual will be selected through committee in a democratic process. 

Start Date: Flexible with start date from early November to mid November 2010 with an end date in January 2011

Rate of Compensation: $6,000 for 10 weeks – Full Time.

Please submit your interest for this opportunity no later than Saturday October 30, 2010 at 9 am. Please include experience, skills and reasons for wanting to take on this work – resumes, cover letters or other letters of interest are acceptable. 

Email:; Fax: 647-350-4049

For more information about the Workers’ Assembly:


Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education.

For more information about CSEW, visit:


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)

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