Read articles from the latest Gazette.
2019 was an exciting, jam-packed year for the APC, notable for the number of research papers and theses produced and for the realisation of the first significant results from the APC’s investment in its digital humanities initiative, the Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) project. November also saw the launch of a new series of graduate student projects to be featured on Emandulo, including Ayanda Mahlaba’s “Reading Ilanga” project, Benathi Marufu’s research on the archive/curation nexus in relation to Digital Curation, Henry Fagan’s Online Bibliography, and Daniel Dix’s work with Carolyn Hamilton on an experimental online curation of a research paper on public deliberative activity in colonial Natal in the Responsible Government period.
The year finished on a wonderful note with the graduation of APC doctoral candidate, Carine Zaayman. Carine’s thesis examines the demands on archives to produce more information than they contain. These demands are seen as sites of invention and imagination in the interests of producing counter colonial narratives. In contrast, the thesis argues that paying attention to all is not there, enables us to grasp something of the significance of absence in its own right. This absence is named the “anarchive”.
After a highly successful showcase in KwaZulu-Natal, the Early African Intellectuals as Composers of Music project ignited the Cape during Heritage Month (September 2019). The project is a historical undertaking seeking to 'wake up' Africans to their ancient music composition and intellectual excellence. It is also meant to raise awareness of and educate about the birth and journey that has been travelled by compositions of the past while finding a place for them to be recognized and enjoyed in contemporary Africa.
This was the title of a workshop held at the Origins Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand on 18 and 19 November 2019. It was organized by Vibeke Viestad of the Heritage Experience Initiative of the University of Oslo and Amanda Esterhuysen of the Archaeology Division at Wits and chair of the Origins Centre. Among the participants were APC chair Carolyn Hamilton and APC research associates Nessa Leibhammer and John Wright.
In 2019 a new course called History in Public Life was offered at MA level through the Department of Historical Studies at UCT. Historians Carolyn Hamilton, Cynthia Kros, Adam Mendelsohn, Camalita Naicker and Nompilo Ndlovu developed and taught the course, and fortuitously, despite intellectual differences and distinctive individual approaches came to form a kind of team. There was no strict consensus about what history in public life meant and, in addition we probably all shifted our ideas about its meaning over the duration of the semester with moments of productive dissonance that we made no effort to conceal from the students.
There is an increasingly well-trod path between the APC in the basement of the AC Jordan (Arts) Building and the third floor of the Computer Science Building. Although these buildings are only a few hundred metres apart, the disciplinary distance between them historically has been great. But this is changing. With the emerging field of Digital Humanities, humanities researchers and computer scientists interact on an increasingly frequent basis. Such is the case with the collaboration between Hussein Suleman of the Digital Libraries Laboratory in Computer Science and the Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) team comprising Carolyn Hamilton, Debra Pryor, Rifqah Kahn and Grant McNulty.
In October 2019 members of the Five Hundred Year Archive team (Carolyn Hamilton, Rifqah Kahn, Grant McNulty and Debra Pryor) travelled to Johannesburg for the second of a series of three Digital Humanities workshops funded by the Mellon Foundation. The workshops, to be held between mid-2019 and mid-2020, are designed to explore the possibility of constituting a supra-institutional information — and technology-sharing consortium between three projects that have a focus on the persistently neglected archive of the long southern African past before European colonialism.
In late October, 2019, the Five Hundred Year Archive project hosted a two-day research visit by their Afridig (African Digital Humanities) partner, Dr. Justine Wintjes, from the KwaZulu-Natal Museum. The visit was part of a larger collaboration designed to explore the possibility of constituting a supra-institutional information- and technology-sharing consortium.
On 14 and 15 November 2019, eleven academics and museum personnel from five different institutions came together on a field trip to examine the site of uMgungundlovu, the chief ikhanda of the Zulu king Dingane kaSenzangakhona in the 1830s. Among the members of the party were APC chair Carolyn Hamilton and APC research associates Thokozani Mhlambi and John Wright.
On Wednesday 16 October, the APC hosted a Research Lab, in the format of a lunchtime discussion with Jan-Bart Gewald, Professor of African History and Director of the African Studies Centre, Leiden. Gewald presented preliminary thoughts towards a new project entitled "From the Ashes Reborn: Reconsidering the 'Time of Troubles' in Southern Africa in the Context of Global History."
APC Post-doctoral Fellow Susana Molins Lliteras, received the prestigious African Studies Association (ASA) Presidential Fellowship for 2019. Susana was one among four fellows nominated by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). The objective of the Fellowship is to invite outstanding Africa-based scholars to attend the ASA Annual Meeting and to spend time at African Studies Programmes in the US.
In November, the international think-tank, the Club of Rome (CoR), held its annual conference and global summit in Stellenbosch. APC Research Chair, Professor Carolyn Hamilton attended as a newly-inducted member. The CoR gained recognition in 1972 with its first report, The Limits to Growth, considered a classic in the sustainability movement and the first study to question the viability of continued growth in the human ecological footprint.