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Amilcar Cabral and Amartya Sen: Freedom, resistance and realism in political theory

This seminar will discuss resistance to colonisation in Africa and the effects it had.

  • 7 May 2019, 1.15pm to 7 May 2019, 2.05pm BST (GMT +01:00)
  • 1 West North, 2.4, University of Bath
  • This event is free

Resistance to colonisation in Africa has generated fruitful accounts of the relationship between the development of human capacities and powers, political freedom and realism in political theory

In this talk, Professor Hamilton brings some of these out by comparing the work of Amílcar Cabral and Amartya Sen on capability, freedom and resistance. Cabral, he argues, is more felicitous than Sen because Cabral remains resolutely realist. The defence of this claim rests upon and helps to identify a distinction between realistic political theory and realism in political theory, where the latter is compatible with being utopian in thought or action.

The paper ends with suggestions as to what follows from this regarding justice and democracy.

Speaker profiles

Lawrence Hamilton is Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). He is also an NRF British Academy Research Professor in Political Theory, Wits and Cambridge. He contributes to rethinking political theory from the perspective of the global South.

Lawrence is an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and is editor-in-chief of Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory. He is also the recipient of over twelve awards for research excellence and is the only political scientist ever to receive an A-rating from the South African National Research Foundation (NRF).


This venue has disabled ramp access.


1 West North, 2.4 University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom


If you have any questions, please contact us.