Rights Groups and Scholars Discuss the LRA

The dramatically successful viral video “Kony 2012” continues to prompt debate within academic, NGO, and activist circles. Supporters argue that the video has helped to raise awareness of a brutal and overlooked conflict; opponents critique the video for simplifying the conflict and misleading viewers on key facts.  In the midst of the debate, several groups […]

Idiosyncrasy as a Tool of Knowledge: Social Criticism in the Age of the Normalized Intellectual

Axel Honneth, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main and Columbia University Axel Honneth is Director of the Institute for Social Research and Professor of Social Philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. His extensive work includes a focus on the foundations of academia’s public interventions. […]

Values vs. Interests: The US and African Elections

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) held national elections beginning on 28 November 2011. The Carter Center, European Union observers, Congo’s Catholic Bishops, United States, other Western states, United Nations, and many others stated that these elections were badly flawed. Yet, in early March 2012, the UN, Western, and African governments are striving to […]

Challenges to Popular Movements and Change in Sudan

On 4 March, Sudanese police dispersed a group of 100 students protesting in front of the presidential palace. The students had gathered to voice their frustration with negotiations between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan, which have failed to address many of the human costs of the July 2011 secession of South Sudan. Particularly […]

The ICC and Lubanga: Missed Opportunities

In the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the judgment handed down on 14 March 2012 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Lubanga case shared the headlines with a story about new fighting in Masisi, North Kivu province between the national defense forces FARDC (Forces Armées de la République […]

Congolese Vote, but Who Decides?

In his excellent contribution to this blog on 15 February 2012, Joshua Marks writes that “It is difficult to make sense of the reaction of many Western governments and international actors to the disastrous elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on November 28, 2011.” To those of us who have followed the actions […]

Critical Reactions to “Kony 2012”

Adam Branch, a Senior Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Uganda, has posted a critique of the recent viral video “Kony 2012” on the UC Irvine-based blog “Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa.” Here’s a brief excerpt: My frustration with the group has largely reflected the concerns expressed so convincingly by those on-line critics who […]

The Congo: A Revolution Deferred

In the run-up to last November’s presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cassandras were easy to find on the streets of Kinshasa. “Ça va péter,” a parliamentarian told me, “It’s going to blow up.” It wasn’t hard to see why. Both the incumbent Joseph Kabila and his main opponent Etienne Tshisekedi toasted […]

In Wake of Unrest, Senegal Heads for Runoff

In a region plagued by conflict, Senegal has a history of robust democratic institutions, stability, and relative economic prosperity, attracting foreign investment and playing a key role in regional peacekeeping. However, an attempt by President Abdoulaye Wade to gain a third term in office has led to unrest and violence in the capital of Dakar […]