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.
The second History Access graduate conference was held at UCT from the 19th to the 21st of November 2019. The conference, featuring special lectures, performances and student papers, was designed to develop capacity in critically engaging southern African vernacular sources and archives.
The APC celebrates the publication of Duane Jethro’s new book, Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Aesthetics of Power (Bloomsbury, 2019). The book manuscript was one of the outcomes of Jethro’s APC post-doctoral fellowship. In this book, Jethro creates a framework for understanding the role of the senses in processes of heritage formation.
Recent doctoral graduate, Dr Erica de Greef has published an evocative visual essay in a timely publication that explores the complex intersections of dress and power, individualism and nationalism, and surveillance and activism in Fashion and Politics (2019), edited by Dr Djurdja Bartlett of the London College of Fashion. It presents a variety of historical and current contexts, from public and personal archives to fashion magazines, political dailies and social media, to acknowledge and assess fashion’s ambivalence within political, social and aesthetic moral systems.