August - November 2021
University of the Witwatersrand
Siphiwe Dube is a Senior Lecturer and former Head in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is an author of numerous interdisciplinary articles and chapters (and also supervises) on a range of topics covering African politics and religion, feminisms, post-colonial literature, race, religion and masculinities, religion and identity politics, religion and popular culture, and transitional justice. His current two projects focus on African Political Theology (of which the IASH Fellowship is a part) and the Religious New Right in post-apartheid South Africa. He is a United World College (Atlantic College) alumnus, a former NRF-DST Scarce Skills Development Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and currently a Pan-African Scientific Research Council Fellow amongst other things.
Project Title: The Theologico-Political Problem in Africa: A Decolonial Perspective
My project's main focus is an examination of what I regard as a neglected, but important concept for contemporary African Political Theory, viz., the theologico-political problem. The theologico-political problem, traditionally concerned with the question of the seat of authority or sovereignty in the western contexts rendered through the metaphor of Jerusalem vs Athens or Revelation vs Reason, has been brought to the fore of late in a number of nation-states in Africa. The intersection of the politics of patronage, the response of ordinary citizens to such politics (including disillusionment with politicians in general), as well as the hope offered through the Pentecostal message of salvation in particular, brings to the fore the specificity of the nature of the theologico-political problem in Africa. The failure of the standard analyses of the theologico-political problem to engage meaningfully with the African context (through appeals to a limited understanding of the Secular, for example, or the binary understanding between the private-religion and public-politics) demands that we rethink the problem in African contextual terms. The project draws from my published work on African Political Theology and develops further engagement with an aspect of this work on Neo-Pentecostal Christianity in Africa and this religion’s increasingly public role in post-colonial African politics. During my fellowship in Edinburgh, I will be working collaboratively with fellow colleagues in the Institute Project on Decoloniality through varied discussions of my work in line with IPD’s multiple foci.
University Profile: https://www.wits.ac.za/staff/academic-a-z-listing/d/siphiwedubewitsacza/