15 Mar 2018

Chr. Michelsen lecture 2018: Backlash against democracy

This year's Chr. Michelsen lecture will address the increasingly hostile climate against democracy and key human rights across the globe. Using the current political developments in Zimbabwe following the military coup in 2017, Raftopolous will explore the persistence of the old regime and the role of cicil society as a point of departure. Zimbabwe's experience is not unique. There are challenges that face democracy in many other African nations.




Professor Brian Raftopoulos is a Zimbabwean scholar and activist. Formally Professor of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, he moved to Cape Town at the end of March 2006 and is currently the Director of Research and Advocacy in the Solidarity Peace Trust/Ukuthula Trust, an NGO dealing with human rights issues in Zimbabwe. He has published widely on Zimbabwean history, labour history, historiography, politics, and economic issues.  Prof. Raftopoulos was also a Mellon Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape from 2009-2016. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Southern African Studies and on the Advisory Board of Kronos, Southern African Histories. In addition, he has been a civic activist in Zimbabwe since the 1990’s. He was a member of the founding Task Force of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) 1998-2000, the editor of the NCA journal Agenda from 1999-2001, as well as the first Chair of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition from 2001-2003.

We will also award the Chr. Michelsen prize for the best development research article written in 2016/17 by a young researcher living in Norway. The prize is awarded every second year. In 2016, Francesca R. Jensenius was awarded the Chr. Michelsen priz for her article “Development from Representation? A Study of Quotas for the Scheduled Castes in India”. Carl Henrik Knutsen was awarded the prize in 2014 for his article «Democracy, State Capacity, and Economic Growth» 


The event is open for all. Welcome.