katrin2Professor Katrin Flikschuh has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust International Networks Grant to work with colleagues from African, European and American universities on a project entitled ‘Domesticating Global Justice: Global Normative Theorizing in African Political Contexts’. This is the first Leverhulme Trust grant of this type to have been awarded to the LSE.

The project, which will run from April 2014 to April 2017, includes network partners from the Universities of Colorado, Frankfurt, Ghana, Ibadan as well as KCL and LSE. The research focus is on normative political thought; however, the project includes a cross-disciplinary dimension, with participation from social scientists and legal thinkers as well as moral philosophers and political theorists. The chief objective is to integrate mainstream liberal thinking on issues of global justice with modern African philosophical and political perspectives.

The regional focus on Africa is due largely to the continuing marginalization of African intellectual perspectives. According to Flikschuh:

‘A powerful image of African helpless and haplessness continues to pervade Western perceptions of the continent in global normative theorizing as much as elsewhere. African peoples continue to be viewed as politically, economically and even sometimes as morally underdeveloped. These prejudicial perceptions guide global normative theorists’ moral diagnoses and policy recommendations, at the same time as shielding them from the need actually to engage with the work of their African peers’.

There is urgent need to get Western and African theorists talking and thinking together. Over the next three years, a series of research events will take place at the LSE, the University of Ghana, and the University of Ibadan, involving both regular network participants and invited outside speakers. The aim is not to produce an overlapping consensus but to explore, discuss and learn from others’ different views, concerns, and methods of approach.

Planned research output includes a series of jointly and individually authored cross-disciplinary work on global justice including though not limited to African perspectives. Network participants will also produce at least one edited volume intended to reflect the diversity of perspectives represented in this research network. There will be a dedicated project website with regular updates on project activities and publications.