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Love & Revolution

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Love and revolution is an inter-disciplinary research platform offering a series of colloquia in 2010-11. It widens the frame through which studies of liberation struggles, nationalism and political cultures have been understood, by insisting on the parallel treatment of ‘the personal’, be it the forces of desire, affiliation or emotion. In southern Africa for instance, popular cultural expressions since the 1960s suggest the transformation of individual subjectivities in the midst of nationalist political struggle and social change, especially in urban areas and exile camps. Love & revolution seeks to co-examine the social and the subjective, the political and the unconscious. There is the potential to explore the way these, and the forms and hierarchies of knowledge produced around them, have often obscured one another despite possible inter-connections. In discursive terms there are deployments of revolutionary language to express the personal, and narratives of affect with the mobilization of powerful symbols to lay claim to the political and the economic. By the same token, love & revolution instates the political at the heart of enquiries about gender, sexuality, aesthetics and creativity. The platform provides opportunities to question the dominant categories and archives of analysis, within the subcontinent and beyond. The thematic conjuncture of love & revolution interrogates the underpinnings of the nation and shifts in consciousness of the self and the other, and more philosophically, it raises questions about the humanities and humanity itself.

A launch conference in which scholars will explore love & revolution with no geographical limitation will take place on 28 – 30 October 2010. Participants are invited to submit a title and abstract by 30 August to the organizers.

Contact: Patricia Hayes at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Premesh Lalu at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

War & the everyday

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‘War’ is used here in preference to terms such as violence, and includes armed struggle, civic resistance and civil war. It points to the force of big events, which shape lives, political and historical narratives, and counter-events. Obvious examples might be the South African military attack on Cassinga in 1978, ‘rebel’ acts in the eastern Congo, and the Rwandan genocide. The implications are not simply military, but deeply civilian.

Juxtaposing war with ‘the everyday’ has the potential for both the contradictory and the banal, for war penetrates and reconfigures the material and temporal structures of everyday life in ways that often become normalized and invisible in the aftermath. The potential frictions of this juxtaposition break open difficult questions about what remains unprocessed and unresolved within, and in the wake of, African struggles for freedom, both colonial and postcolonial. The ‘horror of everyday life’ is often a feature of post-conflict and post-apartheid societies, suggesting the re-direction of violence into less visible domains of poverty, marginalization, gender dynamics and anomie. Bracketing the everyday (the familiar, ordinary and mundane) with war (with its connotations of urgency and the technological sublime) serves to foreground what is normally treated as backdrop. Through this research platform, studies of everyday life in the SWAPO and ANC camps of liberation movements for example, and the quotidian of survivor (and perpetrator) narratives from Rwanda, complicate any unitary sense of colonisation, trauma, nation, liberation or modernization.

The ongoing series of colloquia on the theme of ‘war & the everyday’ commenced in 2008.

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APMHS

The African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies (APMHS) (University of the Western Cape / Robben Island Museum)

The APMHS is a hub for critical heritage studies on the African continent. Through its academic and internship components, it offers the unique opportunity for those employed in the sector and those wanting to enter it to become critical heritage practitioners who are able to reflect upon and transform institutions into sites of sustained scholarly research and public intellectual engagement. The education it offers is driven by an emphasis on a conceptual understanding of the terrain of public culture, of the challenges of social and institutional transformation, and of the work of representation. Through the Programme, the study of museums and the worlds of heritage are approached in a manner that consistently, critically and practically engages with and challenges the dominant ways in which heritage is presented and represented.

Two post-graduate programmes are offered in the fields of Museum and Heritage Studies.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Studies provides a broad programme in heritage training for those already in the sector as well as those who wish to enter this field.  Applications are invited from graduates with at least a Degree at bachelor level or non-graduates who ideally have at least five years of work experience, of which a significant proportion is in the museum and heritage sector. The Diploma opens up vocational possibilities in the heritage, museum and tourism sector. The principal aim is to ensure that students have the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to heritage and museum studies, while enabling them to combine electives in areas of particular interest to them. It provides students with an intellectual training in the key debates facing heritage in a transforming and democratising South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. At the same time it equips students with the necessary skills in managing heritage structures and institutions.

The MA in History with a specialization in Museum and Heritage Studies enriches understanding of theoretical issues in heritage and provides an intensive immersion in heritage research. It also enables students to explore a wider range of issues in specialist fields. Admission to the Masters is by application and selection on the basis of evidence of ability to succeed in the courses offered and a commitment to the field. Application is open to graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Heritage Studies and students with an honours degree in cognate fields who have obtained a minimum of 65%.

Courses in the Programme include:

  • Issues in museum and  heritage studies
  • Heritage management and collection management
  • Researching and interpreting heritage material
  • Visual history
  • Presenting heritage through different media
  • Management in heritage agencies
  • Public history and tourism
  • Curatorship

Contact Details:
Lameez Lakhen, Administrator, African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies

Centre for Humanities Research, UWC
Tel: 27-21-9593162

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PSHA

The PSHA is an exciting research platform for postgraduate students, visiting scholars and faculty dedicated to redefining Humanities research in and about Africa and making sense of the effects of globalization. It is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The programme offers opportunities for international exchange and critical dialogue in an academically engaged and supportive environment. Given the longstanding alignment of UWC's academic mission with the plight of marginal communities in and around Cape Town, the PSHA is committed to making intellectual resources available to deepening understandings of democracy and society. More specifically, the PSHA was established to rethink the foundational categories of culture, identity and nation through exploring contestations surrounding notions of multiculturalism, nationalism postcoloniality, and cultural sovereignty in Africa. As such, the programme emphasises critical reflection on the humanities and African modernities with a view to redefining transnational relations of knowledge production.

The PSHA serves as a platform for academic exchange through reading groups, study circles, seminars and informal meetings. In 2006, the programme explored the debates and contestations surrounding the concept of the postcolonial. In 2007, the focus has been on visuality in the humanities. In future, the programme will undertake to work through specific concepts that have defined the humanities in Africa and inquire into its potential for tackling larger questions of social change on the continent.

Participating Faculty

There are ten faculty members associated with the PSHA and who have volunteered to participate in the selection process, reading groups, symposia and in supporting individual fellows in preparing to undertake research. The faculty committee members are Profs Premesh Lalu (CHR), Leslie Witz, Ciraj Rassool, Patricia Hayes (History), Gordon Pirie (Geography), Tammy Shefer (Women's and Gender Studies), Drs Lionel Thaver (Sociology and Anthropology), Suren Pillay (Centre for Humanities Research), Ms Cheryl-Ann Michael (English and Cultural Studies). The programme administrator is Ms Lameez Lalkhen.