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Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category

Johann Rossouw vra: Wat staan voorstanders van Afrikaans as akademiese taal te doen?

VerwoerdburgJohann Rossouw het op Vrydag, 27 November die stigtingstoespraak gelewer tydens die amptelike bekendstelling van die Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging.

Luidens ‘n verklaring op hul webtuiste is die doel van die Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging “om as spreekbuis te dien vir diegene wat die voortsetting van uitnemende Afrikaanse hoër onderwys nastreef”. Die vereniging bestaan uit “lojale en besorgde alumni” wat bekommerd is oor onder meer “staatsinmenging, transformasie en die viktimisering en afskaling van Afrikaans by ons universiteite”.

In sy toespraak deel die Verwoerdburg-outeur sy waarnemings oor die toekoms van Afrikaans aan universiteite en vra wat voorstanders van Afrikaans as akademiese taal vandag te doen staan.

Rossouw kyk terug oor twee dekades se gesprekke oor Afrikaans en besin oor onder meer staatsinmenging en onvoldoende bevondsing, die FeesMustFall-beweging en die politieke wêreldkonteks waarbinne al die gebeure afgespeel het.

Lees die artikel:

Daar is een laaste punt om te maak oor die politieke wêreldkonteks waarbinne hierdie gebeure aan Suid-Afrikaanse universiteite vanjaar afgespeel het, veral met betrekking tot die FeesMustFall- en RhodesMustFall-bewegings wat Afrikaans en sogenaamde whiteness in die visier gekry het. Ek verwys na die feit dat op die dag nadat Maties se bestuurspan hulle omstrede dokument oor taal aan die US bekendgemaak het, ISIS se aanvalle op Parys plaasgevind het. Waarmee ons hier te doen het, is ’n nuwe geslag voorheen benadeeldes wat vir hul ouers se verraad teenoor hulle wraak wil neem op die nakomelinge van diegene wie se ouers hul ouers verdruk het. Die wyer politieke effek van die verdrywing van Afrikaans as akademiese taal uit die openbare universiteite is dat dit ’n verdoemende boodskap stuur oor hoe die huidige orde nie plek het vir minderheidstale nie, dat dit nie sy erns met diversiteit is nie, dat demokrasie bloot ’n vyeblaar vir sentralisme is en dat die 1994-akkoord van wedersydse erkenning tussen Afrikaner en Afrikaan toenemend misken word.

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Ingrid Jonker – die mite, die mens: Elkarien Fourie besin oor die bekende digter

Vlam in die sneeuFlame in the Snow“Ingrid Jonker se lewe, en veral haar dood, oorskadu soms haar werk en kom telkens in die kollig in Suid-Afrika en in Nederland. As die belangrikheid van ’n digter aan die hand van haar invloed gepeil word, neem sy dalk ’n meer prominente plek in die Afrikaanse poësie in as wat haar oeuvre regverdig.”

Só voer Elkarien Fourie aan in ‘n akademiese artikel vir LitNet waarin sy besin oor die aansien wat Ingrid Jonker, een van die bekendste Suid-Afrikaanse digters, in die literêre samelewing beklee.

Fourie, wat oor ‘n meestersgraad beskik in Afrikaans oor die literêre feministiese biografie soos toegepas op Ingrid Jonker, stel in haar artikel ondersoek in na die problematiese aard van die biografie en kyk dan na die subtekste wat Jonker se lewensgeskiedenis kan belig, met spesifieke verwysing na Hans Christian Andersen se aangrypende sprokie van die rooi skoene.

Lees die insiggewende artikel wat poog om die mite en mens van Ingrid Jonker uit te pak:

’n Moontlike verklaring vir die feit dat verhale soos Jonker s’n lesers en toehoorders eindeloos fassineer, kan te vinde wees in verklarings soos dié van Van der Merwe en Viljoen (1998:177) dat die leser sy persoonlike begeertes deur fantasieë op die werk projekteer en deur transformasie word die individuele lesing tot algemeen aanvaarde temas omvorm. Alcorn en Bracher (1985:345) meen dat deurdat lesers traumatiese en ontstellende situasies in ’n onbedreigende konteks beleef, hulle gedesensiteer word en sodoende sterker teen die vrees uit die leeservaring kom. Hulle noem as voorbeeld Wordsworth se waarneming dat lees hom op ’n romantiese wyse vertroud gemaak het met die dood en daarom was dit vir hom nie so vreesaanjaend om as seun te sien hoe ’n lyk uit ’n rivier gehaal word nie. Hulle sê: “As Wordsworth’s experience indicates, a treacherous terrain is much less difficult to negotiate if one’s cognitive map has prepared one for the region’s existence and topography.”

As dit so is, kan die eie dood vir lesers minder bedreigend word wanneer hulle Ingrid Jonker se skynbaar vreeslose obsessie met die dood vanuit die veiligheid van ’n leunstoel beleef.

Die persona van Ingrid Jonker word verder onthul in die pasgepubliseerde Vlam in die sneeu: Die liefdesbriewe van André P Brink & Ingrid Jonker, saamgestel deur Francis Galloway, ook beskikbaar in Engels as Flame in the Snow: The Love Letters of André Brink & Ingrid Jonker vertaal deur Leon de Kock en Karin Schimke.

Lees ook:

 

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Education Should be Seen as an Instrument of Empowerment – Mathews Phosa

Chants of FreedomEarlier this year revered politician and anti-apartheid activist Mathews Phosa, author of Chants of Freedom: Poems Written in Exile, took part in an open discourse series at Unisa on the ethics of gender.

During the discussion Phosa, chairperson of Unisa’s Council, stated that he “believes that unless education is seen as an instrument of empowerment, society isn’t going to equalise”. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of seeing all children as equal beings, regardless of their gender, noting that “life is going to challenge them the same”.

“If we don’t give room for education, then we’re jumping a very big step. We need to empower the boy and girl child the same way,” Phosa said.

Kirosha Naicker reported on the event for the Unisa blog. Read the article:

“How does the curriculum advance gender equality at universities and Unisa in particular? And I’m not just talking about gender studies but curriculum across the board,” asked Thoko Didiza, MP. She was speaking at an ethics open discourse series on 28 August 2015 that focused on the ethics of gender.

Didiza believes this is not an issue for a few but for everybody because curriculum, gender equality and gender advancement are not issues that exist in silos. “My question is when will we ever have that egalitarian society where men and women are equal?”

Related stories:

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Paper on the Spirit of Ubuntu in Claire Robertson's The Spiral House Presented in Japan and Ireland

The Spiral HouseProfessor Cheryl Stobie from the University of KwaZulu-Natal presented a paper on The Spiral House by Claire Robertson in Japan and Ireland earlier this year.

Stobie introduced delegates of the 2015 Asian Conference on Cultural Studies to Robertson’s writing in her paper entitled “Emancipation Moments and Ubuntu in Claire Robertson’s The Spiral House”.

Stobie presented the same paper in August at the European Network for Comparative Literary Studies’ sixth biennial congress on “Longing and Belonging”. The event took place at the Dublin City University.

In 2014, Robertson received the Sunday Times Fiction Prize for her debut novel. In The Spiral House, two stories echo across centuries to expose that which binds us and sets us free. Her latest novel, The Magistrate of Gower, was launched in September this year.

UKZN Ndaba Online, UKZN’s campus electronic newsletter, shared a synopsis of Stobie’s paper, in which she analyses The Spiral House using the framework of Ubuntu.

Read the article:

Robertson’s text highlights human rights abuses during two periods in South African history, critiquing the ideology of slavery and the effects of enlightenment scientific experimentation on human subjects.

Robertson also portrays the violence of apartheid, contrasted with attempts to act ethically and autonomously.

Stobie’s paper used the framework of Ubuntu to evaluate concepts of land, colonialism, slavery, gender, science, religion and apartheid as represented in the novel, with the aim of identifying the lessons of history to illustrate the possibility of an emancipatory praxis in contemporary society.

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Read Chris Thurman's Paper on "Poison", by Henrietta Rose-Innes, from the Wits End Times Colloquium

HomingThe post-apocalyptic short story “Poison”, from Henrietta Rose-Innes‘s Homing, was rich material for discussion at the End Times Colloquium held at of the Wit University last year.

Christopher Thurman’s paper from the conference, “Apocalypse Whenever: Catastrophe, Privilege and Indifference (or, Whiteness and the End Times)”, has been published online by Taylor & Francis. In the paper, Thurman argues that “Poison”, despite being set in an imagined post-apocalyptic community, tells us a lot about present social faultlines in South Africa. He aims to offer a “metonymic or allegorical reading of the focalising protagonist of ‘Poison’, Lynn, and her white identity”.

Read the abstract:

Henrietta Rose-Innes’ short story ‘Poison’ (from Homing 2010) is set in the aftermath of a chemical explosion of cataclysmic proportions in Cape Town. The story’s protagonist and narrator, Lynn, is among the last to flee the city; she ends up alone at an abandoned highway petrol station. She sips Coke and eats crisps and waits passively – for a rescue team, for the will to try and escape, or for the (presumably) inevitable end. The story provides us with some clues as to her lack of motivation, although she remains enigmatic. This article offers a reading of ‘Poison’ that examines Lynn’s apparent indifference to her fate and considers what it may represent. Her character is read metonymically in order to pose and, tentatively, answer certain questions. Does she stand for a particular kind of response to impending or actual catastrophe? Is it a common response, arguably one that is analogous to global responses to climate change and environmental degradation? How is it inflected by the privilege of whiteness? What might the race and class dynamics of an imagined post-apocalyptic community tell us about present social fault-lines in South Africa? Recruiting the diverse discourses of Shakespearean universality and Twitter hashtags towards a common end, the article investigates the relationship between whiteness and the ‘End Times’ – and finds in ‘Poison’ a critique of the ways in which imagined utopian and dystopian futures may perpetuate white privilege and the dominance of whiteness.

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Cosmopolitan Literary Cities and Hybrid Identities – A Graduate Student Explores Imraan Coovadia's Work

Imraan Coovadia was the subject of a graduate student’s research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Tales of the Metric SystemTransformationsThe Institute for Taxi PoetryGreen-Eyed Thieves

 
Alan Muller completed his Masters in Arts degree cum laude in 2014 on the life and work of the author of Tales of the Metric System, Transformations: Essays, The Institute for Taxi Poetry and Green-Eyed Thieves.

In an interview with UKZN News, Muller says that meeting the author in person was the highlight of his research and explains why he was drawn to Coovadia as subject matter: “The combination of pleasure I got from reading his novels and the gap in the academic ‘market’ prompted me to pursue the topic.”

Muller explored issues of race, place and identity in Coovadia’s body of work which can be labelled as post-transitional texts:

Using selected theories of space, place, and identity, Muller suggests that the novels under discussion reflect an era of globalisation, interconnectedness, and hybridity through the construction of cosmopolitan literary cities and the hybrid identities which inhabit them.

He argues that his works can be tentatively labelled as post-transitional texts that strive to craft connections rather than to construct self-isolating communities and characters seen in South African texts such as Richard Rive’s Buckingham Palace, District Six (1986), Aziz Hassim’s The Lotus People (2003), and Phyllis Naidoo’s Footprints in Grey Street (2002).

Speaking about the highlights of his research, Muller said he was able to present at two conferences: the first annual Postcolonial Narrations postgraduate forum at the University of Göttingen in October 2013 and the ALA Conference hosted by Wits University in April 2014.

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Afrikaans Literature Might Find its Greatest Moments of Worldliness in its Dislocation – Leon de Kock

Bad SexBad Sex author and renowned academic Leon de Kock recently grappled with the question, “Is Afrikaans literature a World Literature?” in a conversation with his wife Jeanne-Marie Jackson who is a US academic and researcher.

Using David Danrosch’s definition of world literature – “[A]ll literary works that circulate beyond their culture of origin, either in translation or in their original language.” – De Kock and Jackson had a rich conversation in which they look at contemporary Afrikaans writers such as André Brink, Breyten Breytenbach, Antjie Krog, Etienne van Heerden and Marlene van Niekerk and their impact on literature at large.

A fascinating conversation ensued, which concluded with the following idea: “Afrikaans literature, as you point out above, might find its greatest moments of worldliness not in its being seamlessly synchronised with a greater planetary consciousness, but in its very dislocation, its global isolation, just as the subtitle of your new book (South African Literature’s Russian Soul: Narrative Forms of Global Isolation) puts it.”

Read the article:

We are two scholars of South African literature – one senior, one junior – who came to the field by very different paths. Leon is a professor, but also a writer (of a novel and three volumes of poetry); a well-known translator of contemporary Afrikaans fiction into English; and a frequent literary commentator in Cape Town and Johannesburg. He grew up and made his career in South Africa at a time when Afrikaans was the country’s de facto official language. Jeanne-Marie learned Afrikaans, at first, from the much more baffling location of New Haven, Connecticut. After “discovering” the language through its literature as a graduate student, she went on to write her first book on Russia, South Africa and provincial literary cultures, and is now an assistant professor of world literature at Johns Hopkins. The two of us are also married, living between Baltimore and southern Africa, and are often intrigued by what the other brings, quite literally, to the table. Whereas Leon has decades of deep local knowledge from which he then derives a bigger picture, Jeanne-Marie began with a broad theoretical framework in comparative literature and worked in the other direction.

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Podcast: In Western Empires Sampie Terreblanche Studies Inequality Across Centuries

Western EmpiresSampie Terreblanche spoke to Bruce Whitfield on Talk Radio 702 and Cape Talk about his book, Western Empires: Christianity, and the Inequalities Between the West and the Rest 1500 – 2010.

Terreblanche is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University. Whitfield mentions how Terreblanche has spent the last 10 years of his life writing this incredible book.

Western Empires takes a comprehensive look at inequality across the centuries with a focus on the first and third worlds to show that “inequality isn’t a 20th century construct”.

Terreblanche explained: “Western imperialism and western capitalism have brought about these huge inequalities, perhaps I should give you a few examples. The richest one percent in the world’s income is more or less half of the world’s income. The other 99 percent received the other half. The richest 85 individuals received the same income as the poorest 3,5 billion people.”

Listen to the podcast:

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Extract from Transformations: Coovadia on Coetzee – Why Adelaide?

TransformationsIn a contribution to the academic journal Kritika Kultura, Imraan Coovadia considers JM Coetzee’s relocation from Cape Town to Adelaide shortly before being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The piece, entitled “Coetzee in and out of Cape Town”, has subsequently been published as part of Coovadia’s recently released essay collection, Transformations:

In 2002, a year before receiving the Nobel Prize, John Maxwell Coetzee relocated from Cape Town to Adelaide, an undistinguished provincial capital in southern Australia with a population of a million and a quarter. At 61, he adopted the title of Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, almost as unusual a choice as the destination itself. It Coetzee’s presence had never been a comfortable one for the country, his departure was even more unsettling.

Why Adelaide? London had long been the first stop for well-heeled expatriates. The Committee on Social Thought, at the University of Chicago, was the place Coetzee called his intellectual home, in a slight to the University of Cape Town where he had been on the faculty for three decades. Coetzee’s dreams of retirement, like the wanderer in Life & Times of Michael K., had once included building a house and living out his days in the Karoo, the scrub desert north of Cape Town.

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Uittreksel uit Transformations deur Imraan Coovadia: Waarom het JM Coetzee na Adelaide verhuis?

TransformationsTransformations bevat ‘n versameling essays oor literatuur, politiek en kultuur deur die skrywer en akademikus Imraan Coovadia. Lees ‘n verkorte, vertaalde weergawe van sy essay oor JM Coetzee wat in Die Burger verskyn het. In hierdie essay skryf Coovadia oor die redes waarom Coetzee na Australië verhuis het:

In 2002, ’n jaar voordat hy die Nobel-prys ontvang het, verhuis John Maxwell Coetzee van Kaapstad na Adelaide, ’n onbeduidende provinsiale hoofstad in die suide van Australië met ’n bevolking van 1,5 miljoen.

Op 61 aanvaar hy die titel van ere-navorsingsgenoot aan die Universiteit van Adelaide, ’n keuse wat byna net so ongewoon was as die bestemming self.

Suid-Afrika was nooit baie gemaklik met J.M. Coetzee se teenwoordigheid nie en sy vertrek was selfs meer onthutsend. Hoekom Adelaide? Londen was dan lank die toevlugsoord van welgestelde ballinge. Die komitee vir Maatskaplike Denke van die Universiteit van Chicago was ook eerder die plek wat Coetzee sy intellektuele tuiste genoem het, ’n duidelike klap na die Universiteit van Kaapstad (UK), waaraan hy drie dekades lank verbonde was.

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