Panel to examine land reform and community rights in Mozambique and Brazil

The University Colloquium on the Global South at York will host a presentation titled "Neoliberal Mozambique and Brazil: the Case of Land Reform and Community Land Rights". This event will take place Wednesday, Feb. 7, from 2 to 4pm, in 305 York Lanes.

In this presentation, University of Illinois political science Professor Merle Bowen joins John Saul, York professor emeritus of political & social science, and Simone Bohn, professor of political science at York, to examine the current struggle for land reform in Mozambique and Brazil. The discussion will centre on the land rights of poverty-stricken, rural, black communities.

As part of land reform policies, the governments of Mozambique and Brazil have recently passed new laws granting these communities collective control over land and other natural resources. Land movements played a pivotal role in pressuring their governments to pass the new land legislation that recognizes both customary and ethnic land rights in Mozambique and Brazil, respectively. Yet, as this presentation will examine, these reforms were not a simple result of land movement pressures; rather, such reforms also suited neoliberal development agendas.

A professor of political science in the African American Studies & Research Program, Bowen is also the acting director of the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois.

Left: Merle Bowen

Her research and teaching interests include politics in Africa and the African diaspora, agrarian and rural issues, race and ethnicity, social movements and globalization. She is the author of The State against the Peasantry: Rural Struggles in Colonial and Postcolonial Mozambique (2000), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Saul has taught at York University since 1973. A veteran of the anti-apartheid movement, he also taught in Africa for nearly a decade. Saul is also author of 18 books which focus mainly on issues in Africa.

Left: John Saul

Most recently, he has published The Next Liberation Struggle: Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy in Southern Africa (2005); Development After Globalization: Theory and Practice for the Embattled South in a New Imperial Age (2006). He is currently working on a book, titled Decolonization and Empire: Contesting the Rhetoric and Reality of Resubordination in Southern Africa and Beyond.

Prior to coming to York University, Bohn was a postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago. She has also taught at University of Sao Paulo (USP) and State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. Bohn’s research focuses on political parties and feminist movement in Latin America.

Left: Simone Bohn

She is currently in the process of finishing a manuscript titled Party Organizations at a Crossroads: Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay in Comparative Perspective.

The University Colloquium on the Global South is an open space for debate and critical inquiry for students, faculty members, NGOs, social activists and policy makers. Colloquia are free and do not require pre-registration.

For information or to register for updates, visit the University Consortium on the Global South Web site or call Elena Cirkovic at ext. 55237.

This event is co-sponsored by the African Studies Saul Interdisciplinary Seminar and York’s Department of Political Science.