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The world should brace for a demographic and cartographic reshuffling. The current trajectory of climate change and fossil fuels may render much of the Global South uninhabitable. Heat waves, combined with political collapse and economic inequality, are already driving people across the sea and desert. Migrants are also crossing borders at the cost of their lives. What would it take to remove those international boundaries and the entire system of exclusion and xenophobia underpinning them?

David McDermott Hughes.

Drawing on his ethnography conducted on the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border (in the 1990s) and on the Spain-Morocco border (in the 2010s), David McDermott Hughes will give a public lecture on his imagination of a right of free passage independent of territory – and against the grain of nationalism, sovereignty, and indigenous entitlements.

Hughes is a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, New Jersey. He worked as an activist scholar of race, inequality, and natural resources since the late 1980s. In southern Africa, he worked for a variety of NGOs and wrote ethnographies of settler colonialism and land reform: From Enslavement to Environmentalism (2007) and Whiteness in Zimbabwe (2010). Then, in Trinidad and Tobago, he carried out ethnography on petroleum geologists, publishing Energy without Conscience (2017). His fourth book, Who Owns the Wind?, proposes a post-oil energy transition more just than the current one (not) taking place. Hughes has served as president and chief negotiator of Rutgers’ AAUP-AFT, his faculty labour union. He currently serves on the Climate Justice Task Force of the American Federation of Teachers.

Refreshments will be served.

Date: 13 August 2024
Time: 12:00 – 13:30
Venue: School of Public Health, Room 1C&D, University of the Western Cape
Chair: Dr Farai Mtero, senior researcher at PLAAS.

RSVP: Phelela Ngcingwana on this link before 2 August 2024.
Venue directions:
University of the Western Cape campus map:

This event is hosted by the South African Research Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Professor Ruth Hall, and is supported by the Department of Science and Innovation and the National Research Foundation.