In February 2016 Professor Lawrence Hamilton was awarded an NRF/British Academy SA-UK Bilateral Research Chair in Political Theory (the only one in the humanities, see award ceremony, 4 May 2016).
The condition of this Chair is that he spend 6 months a year in the Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa and 6 months a year in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Cambridge, UK, building research networks in political theory between the two institutions.
The Chair has four central purposes: to enable the two institutions to build on their excellence in political theory through a vigorous exchange of ideas from the perspectives of two very different contexts; to use this collaboration to increase the prominence and promise of political theory in South Africa, transforming both the discipline and showing how the growth of political theory in South Africa is central to its transformation agenda; to build a vibrant exchange programme for graduate students and colleagues between the two institutions; and for Lawrence to supervise graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at both institutions.
The Chair will enable growth in the number of graduate students and research fellows researching in political theory by offering scholarships at various levels. Over time the Chair intends to expand the exchange programme to include the London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Queen Mary University of London, New York University, University of Helsinki, University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town.
In terms of his own research and graduate teaching, Professor Hamilton offers a novel approach to political theory. His research interests include topics in contemporary political theory, such as states, power, representation, freedom, needs, rights, resistance, democracy, markets and political judgement, as informed by real world politics, particularly in the global South, the history of political thought, and South African politics, political economy and intellectual history.
He welcomes interested PhD students (or prospective PhD candidates) in Cambridge for supervision on any of these or related topics or thinkers. Notices will soon also be posted regarding the exchange programme. Please feel free to contact Lawrence on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about supervision or the exchange programme.
Lawrence has taught and researched at 4 universities on 3 continents and currently, at Wits, is supervising 8 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral fellows. He is the author of several books including The Political Philosophy of Needs (Cambridge University Press 2003); Are South Africans Free? (Bloomsbury 2014); and Freedom is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (Cambridge University Press 2014). He is a Life Member of Clare Hall and an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). He is editor-in-chief of Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, and has received more than ten awards for research excellence, including this Research Chair, a TOFAC Award (2014), an NRF President’s Award (2007-11) and the Gladstone Memorial Prize (1996). For more, see his CV at the Association for Political Theory in Africa (APTA), which he co-founded and co-directs.