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Celebrating the 40th Anniversary edition of Politikon

Date Released: Tue, 13 May 2014 18:00 +0200

The Political and International Studies Department at Rhodes University will be hosting a seminar tomorrow (14 May 2014) entitled “The Road Less Travelled: The Teaching of Politics at Rhodes”, as part of celebrating the 40th Anniversary edition of Politikon, the South African Journal of Political Science.

The 40th edition of the Politikon Journal is dedicated to the late Dr Sipho Maseko, a well known political scientist. Senior lecturer from the Department of Political and International Studies, Dr Tony Fluxman will present a copy of the 40th Anniversary edition of the Politikon to Dr Pam Maseko, from the African languages Department at Rhodes, who is the widow of the late Dr Maseko.

Dr Fluxman says in celebrating the respected Journal there is also the important function of recognising the contribution of the young intellectual, Dr Sipho Maseko.

This seminar will also look into the claim made several years ago that Politics at Rhodes, with its strong tradition of Political Theory, has been different from the teaching of Politics elsewhere in the country.

“Most of the work done in South Africa is applied, it’s not your theory, but we’ve been strong on political theory in our department because we used to be united with Philosophy. Until about 1968 they were one department, so Rhodes has maintained a strong tradition in theory which we believe is fundamental to the discipline, and unfortunately some departments in this country don’t teach theory or research it. It’s a bit like physicists not doing mathematics,” says Dr Fluxman, using one of his favourite analogies.

The focus on political theory in the department was reiterated by Prof Louise Vincent, “It’s probably one of the things we’ll be talking about at the event. Our teaching has firm roots in philosophy. The Department broke away from the Philosophy Department so that’s where we come from. We’ve kind of always stayed with those roots.”

Various speakers will present at the seminar. Distinguished Professor Paul Maylam, who is writing a history of Rhodes University, will talk about the sociological historical account of the field of politics. Emeritus Professor Peter Vale, who is one of the Editors of the Anniversary Edition of Politikon, will talk about the Journal and the history of the Journal.

Professor Louise Vincent, who was a student in the Department, and who is currently a lecturer, will discuss her experiences in terms of political theory. Also in the conversation are Emeritus Professor Terence Beard, long-time Head of the Politics Department, and Emeritus Professor Ian Macdonald, former Dean of Humanities.

According to Dr Tony Fluxman, “Politikon comes from the ancient Greek word meaning politics and the famous word Zoon, and together Politikon which basically means that people are political animals, they take part in politics, they realise themselves or don’t realise themselves in the political sphere and so this is the house journal of the field of political studies in this country.”

The seminar will take place at 13:00 in the Political and International Studies Department's New Seminar Room.

By Catherine Deiner

Picture: Dr Tony Fluxman 

Source:Communications and Marketing