Dr Ambreena Manji
Lecturer in Law,
School of Law, University of Warwick
Dame Lillian Penson Research Fellow,
Institute of Commonwealth Studies,
University of London
This Special Issue of the Law, Social Justice and Global Development Journal focuses on African research and contemporary developments in Africa. It has arisen in part out of the vibrant Africanist research currently taking place at the University of Warwick. In 2002, the Warwick Network of Africanist Researchers (WNAR) was founded at the School of Law to bring together Africanist scholars. WNAR seminars, now in their third year, have attracted presentations on a wide range of contemporary interdisciplinary topics, including papers on Africa and the war on terror, politics in contemporary Zimbabwe, the politics of language in post-apartheid South Africa, feminism and Islam in Algeria, portrayals of Africa in Italian travel literature, and the history of African legal education.
This special issue brings together a collection of papers on related areas from the wider Africanist community. The authors included here range from social scientists to scholars in the humanities. In his paper, John Harringtonexplores the commodification of health care delivery in Tanzania in the context of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, relating this experience to the privatisation of health care delivery in the United Kingdom. In doing so, the paper heeds Upendra Baxi's call to tear down the 'conceptual cloisters' which impede our understanding of the historical causes of global impoverishment. Deepak Gupta's paper seeks to investigate the 'defiance campaign' of South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign. It is similarly concerned with international economic law and explores the provision of AIDS treatment drugs in the context of the World Trade Organisation's rules. In his contribution, Florens Luogadiscusses the recent experience of Tanzania in reforming its tax system. He explicitly links this technical task with issues of governance and development, arguing that willingness to reform the tax system has become an important condition for aid, loans and access to debt relief facilities.
In her paper, Vidya Kumarat once alerts postcolonial legal theorists to, and locates them within, early debates concerning postcolonial theory. In addressing the historical underpinnings of postcolonial theory, the paper asks if complicity and nomenclature are inevitable aspects of postcolonial legal theory. Jane Poyner's paper explores J M Coetzee's critical and theoretical interventions to problematise his refusal 'to be positioned' as a public intellectual and sets Coetzee against Edward Said's admonition to 'speak truth to power'.
In their contribution, Martyn Day and Jill Patterson give an account of their work on behalf of Kenyan women who have raised allegations of mass rape against the British army based at training camps in the Gol Gol region. A civil action against the Ministry of Defence is now in preparation and will centre on the way the emerging complaints of rape over the last thirty years have been handled. The case has received worldwide attention and will be closely followed over the coming months.
I am also pleased to be able to publish in this special issue the proceedings of a workshop held on the occasion of the recent visit to Warwick by the Kenyan writer and intellectual Ngugi wa Thiong'oas the 2003 Humanities Research Centre Visiting Fellow. This visit proved an effective catalyst in bringing together Warwick scholars whose interests centre around colonial and post-colonial studies from within a diversity of disciplines such as literary studies, history, film studies, law.
A welcome result of the exchanges stimulated by Ngugi's presence is the forthcoming interdisciplinary seminar series on 'Narratives of Testimony: (Post)Colonial Law and Literature', which will take place in 2004 under the joint sponsorship of the Humanities Research Centre and the Legal Research Institute. Organised by Ambreena Manji and Loredana Polezzi (Italian, Warwick) the series will bring together experts in fields ranging from migrant writing to colonial law, from African studies to Caribbean literature, and will focus on the intersection between textual representation, individual and collective memory, legal memory, portrayals of law in literature and narratives of human rights. A survey of the scholarship taking place within Warwick alone suggests that these themes are receiving increasing attention from a number of distinct disciplinary perspectives and in varied historical and geographical contexts. One of the distinguishing features of the series will be precisely its wide chronological and geographical, as well as linguistic, span. The intention is to connect the colonial moment with its post-colonial aftermath, and to examine common as well as distinguishing traits characterising not only the Anglophone world, but also the histories (and narratives) of French, Spanish, Italian and other (post) colonial experiences.
I am grateful to all the contributors whose papers appear here and would like to thank Celine Tan whose excellent work and constant support have made possible this special issue.
This Editorial was published on 20 January 2004.
Citation: Manji, A 'Editorial', 2003 (2) Law, Social Justice and Global Development.
<http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/global/issue/2003-2/editorial.html>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/2003_2/editorial/>