Reading Edward Said in South Africa

29 avril 2011 | معتمد Events, Palestine

lecturer by South African activist Salim Vally, lecturer at University of Johannesburg


    Friday, May 6th, 2011
    18h, free !
    McGill University
    Leacock Building, room 232 (2nd Floor)
    855 Sherbrooke street west
    Montreal, Quebec
    facebook event

The recent imbroglio between the University of Johannesburg and Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

This presentation examines solidarity actions by students and staff in the academy during the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa with solidarity action in support of the calls made by Palestinian civil society today. The presentation will show how the impact of corporate globalization works to erode notions of solidarity. It will argue that the latter is best served by a defense of higher education as a public good and an autonomous sphere of critical and productive democratic citizenry as well as resistance to the imposition of commercial values to subvert the purpose and mission of our institutions. It concedes that the academy has to be accountable not only to the collegiums but also to the constituencies ‗outside‘. It attempts to identify these constituencies and suggests that they together with progressive academics and students can influence the university.

The presentation calls for a self-critical look at the practices of management and some academics by employing Edward Said‘s notion of the public intellectual. It will also highlight crucial initiatives by colleagues in some universities that point the way toward transforming the academy for the common good and who strive through their praxis to contribute to genuine social transformation and solidarity-the recent decision by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg to sever ties with Ben Gurion University will be analysed.

Event welcome and introduction by McGill professor & social activist Abby Lippman who is a member of College and University Workers United (CUWU), a network that first formed in early 2009 to protest the Israeli bombing of Gaza during Opeation ‘Cast Lead’ and which has, from its start, supported the BDS campaign. She is also a member of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), which also supports the BDS campaign and is a strong critic of Israeli government apartheid policies.

Salim Vally

Salim Vally is a senior researcher at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg and the coordinator of the Education Rights Project.

Vally was on the regional executive of the South African Students Movement in 1976/1977 and left after its banning by the erstwhile apartheid regime and after severe repression. He returned to South Africa in 1982, taught at secondary schools and worked for progressive literacy organisations. From 1985 to 1994 he was the education officer for a trade union and was a founder member of COSATU.

He holds degrees from the universities of York and the Witwatersrand and has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia and York Universities. He has published extensively while agreeing with Howard Zinn that “most academics publish while others perish” and therefore continues with his abiding interest in linking academic scholarship with societal concerns, community participation and global solidarity.

He serves on the boards of various professional and non-governmental organizations, is active in various social movements and solidarity organisations and is a regular commentator in the mass print and electronic media. He is passionate in his endeavour to liberate the discourse of rights from the protective clutches of juridical experts where it often ineffectively resides.

sponsors for event

CKUT Radio
College and University Workers United (CUWU)
Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) McGill
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Concordia
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), McGill

Tadamon! Montreal
tel: 514 664 1036
email: info(at)

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