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02 December 2020

HSRC and partners to deliberate on social issues under the theme of Radical Reason at 2020 Science Forum

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Pretoria, Thursday 3 December 2020 – The Human Sciences Research Council will bring together a consortium of partners from the humanities and social sciences in the country, under the theme of Radical Reason at the Department of Science and Innovation’s 2020 Science Forum, scheduled from 9-11 December 2020.

The HSRC-led consortium will include the: Sol Plaatje University, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the National Research Foundation, International Science Council, Universities South Africa, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, as well as Environmental Humanities South of the University of Cape Town.

The Consortium will bring together a selection of panels, plenary sessions, and structured conversations with global thinkers at the 2020 Science Forum.  The current reality of how COVID-19 has impacted on, and indeed disrupted, the global socio-economic environment will shape the discussions and insights which may influence evidence based solutions that will follow.  Confirmed speakers include Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Professor Homi Bhabha, Dr Shaj Mohan, Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Professor Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni.

The consortium was formed to bring to life the HSRC’s International Conference which was scheduled for earlier in 2020.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference will now be held at a date to be confirmed.  This international conference would also have brought to a close the HSRC’s commemoration of its 50/90 Anniversary.  The International Conference, when reconvened will aim to generate a deeper understanding of the complexities impacting on the socio-economic condition of South Africans in particular and the global community in general.

Professor Crain Soudien, Chief Executive Officer of the HSRC, has said that “the contributions of the HSRC Radical Reason Consortium to the DSI Science Forum 2020 aim to provoke new ways of thinking about and responding to the present global moment, expressed from our distinctly South African perspective”.

Some of the themes and issues to be deliberated upon include:

  • South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Influencing Science in Africa through a gendered lens
  • Education and social justice: themes, debates and dilemmas in post-apartheid South Africa
  • Violence Against Women: Gender and Social Justice
  • What we know about adolescents living with HIV in South Africa
  • African Histories of Technology: African Narratives of Artificial Intelligence
  • Roundtable discussion on Discourses of Race

There will also be two book launches during the Forum:

  • Wednesday 9 December: The Fabric of Dissent: Public Intellectuals in South Africa
  • Thursday 10 December: Rock | Water | Life: Ecology and Humanities for a De-colonial South Africa
  1.  Media are invited to RSVP to cover the Conference at
  2. The HSRC’s programme at the Science Forum will be attached separately.
  3. The programme for the 2020 Science forum can be accessed here
  4. Media are invited to attend the on site and virtual sessions.  On site sessions will be subjected to COVID-19 protocols.

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Manusha Pillai
Mobile:  082 389 3587

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