April 26, 2019

Update on RC33 website and research in South Africa

At the RC33 Board meeting in Toronto in July 2018 I gave a brief update on the RC33 website that was launched in 2017 and asked for feedback from the audience.  Someone mentioned that the blog section was empty and that it would be good to have regular news from RC33.  I’m pleased to report that our new president, Vera Toepoel, started us off in August with an article on “Replicability in the Social Sciences”.  Since then blogs followed from our new vice-president for membership (Inga Gaizauskaite), from Pei-shan Liao about the application of survey research in Taiwan, a farewell message from our past president, Nina Baur, and a letter from the new president.  Henrik Andersen introduced himself in the newly created position of vice-president for awards and we shared some news about the BMS and RC33.  Please look out for the forthcoming blog by Ioasonas Lamprianou with information about the 2020 conference in Cyprus.  As we elected a new board and president for 2018-2022 we have also added the profiles of the board members that can be found on the About page so that you can familiarise yourself with each board member’s research and functions.

Since I wrote the article in 2015 for the BMS, reflecting on the state of social science research on the African continent, there have been developments in the South African tertiary education landscape.  Although more funding has been made available for the poor and working class some students continue to protest in 2019 about the lack of accommodation and food and the slow payment of financial aid, amongst others, while the debate about the feasibility of free higher education persists.  The call for a decolonised, transformed curriculum has resulted in some interesting work and events.  A publication titled “Transforming Research Methods in the Social Sciences: Case Studies from South Africa” has been released by WITS University Press as an open access source.  A conference on moving towards a decolonial psychology was held in Cape Town in February and another (on the decolonial turn and the humanities curriculum) is taking place in Pretoria in July.  We have had a number of lectures on curriculum transformation at the University of Pretoria, including a visit from Prof Nelson Maldonado-Torres who is the Academy of Science of South Africa’s 2018/2019 Distinguished Visiting Scholar.  I am working on transforming the research methods curriculum in psychology (and the broader humanities) with a doctoral student and have an article accepted in Sage Open that reviews 15 years of literature on teaching qualitative research.  I hope to engage with fellow social scientists about these topics at the next ISA Forum or Congress and especially in Cyprus next year!

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