Urban researcher Professor AbdouMaliq Simone joined UniSA earlier this year as Director of the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding.
For the past three decades, Prof Simone has worked with practices of social interchange, cognition, local economy and the constitution of power relations that affect how heterogeneous African cities are lived in.
“I joined the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding
as a vehicle to demonstrate the near uselessness of considerations
about identity in a context that would seem to amplify their importance,”
Prof Simone says.
“The most important word in the title of the centre is ‘and’ – it is about the complexion and politics of relationships, for identity only emerges from the dynamics of relation.
“This is most demonstrable in cities, which clearly give the impression of specific and unyielding social and spatial divides. But these divides are possible only because of the forces applied and generated through the relations of things, people, times, materials, designs, signs, and thought, all of whose characteristics continuously shift and become something else than they are at any given time.”