University of the Western Cape Faculty of Art

University of the Western Cape Faculty of Art

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  • Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands
  • Department of Anthropology and Sociology
  • Department of English
  • Department of Foreign Languages
  • Department of Geography, Environmental Studies & Tourism
  • Department of History
  • Department of Linguistics
  • Department of Library and Information Science
  • Department of Religion and Theology
  • Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Department of Xhosa
  • Department of Philosophy



  • Centre for Humanities ResearchSince its inception in 2006, the Centre for Humanities Research (CHR) at the University of the Western Cape has emerged as a crucial meeting point for researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences throughout Southern Africa. The Centre strives to develop unifying and interdisciplinary themes in the humanities that will enable a renewal of its study in Africa. For the CHR, the chief indicators of success in knowledge production are masters and doctoral graduates; the dissemination of research through the publication of monographs and journal articles; mentorship and guidance of young scholars; a vibrant postdoctoral programme; and the employment of its PhD graduates, preferably in South Africa’s universities. A unique model: Research platforms, a seminar programme, Winter Schools and Reading Programmes Four components were identified by the Director of the Centre as key enablers in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. First, the creation of research platforms allows scholars in the faculty and the Centre to read and write around specific areas, such as Aesthetics and Politics, and Violence and the Law, and enables students to read and write together around connected areas of research. A vibrant seminar programme attracts around 80 people each week from all over the region, where postdoctoral fellows, postgraduate students, academics from neighbouring institutions and international visiting scholars present their research in a non-threatening environment. An annual Winter School programme is run collaboratively by the University of the Western Cape, the SARCHI Chair for Social Change at Fort Hare University, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota in the USA. The winter school is an integral element in the broader collaboration between these Centres and Projects, which includes intellectual and academic exchanges, conferences, and colloquia. The 2013 Winter School, “Acts to Ground: On the Politics of the Humanities”, will draw together leading international scholars, postdoctoral and doctoral students, to present research and build larger intellectual communities as they grapple with fundamental epistemological issues and problems in the study of the humanities in Africa. Finally, a coherent reading programme, the Programme on the Study of the Humanities in Africa (PSHA) brings together masters, doctoral, and postdoctoral fellows and faculty, into discussions on constructing new directions in humanities research. Centre for Humanities Research: Office 021 9593162/fax 021 9591282 or email
  • Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities ResearchThe central brief of the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research is to embark on a project of intellectual reorientation, namely a significant rethinking of multilingualism and the development of a new discourse with which to approach interdisciplinary work in the humanities and the education sciences. The brief involves interrogating contemporary and historical African intellectual heritage through a critical review of the role of language and multilingualism in the colonial archive, and in the light of critical framings of multilingualism and diversity. Such an endeavour requires new modes of theoretical engagement, which in turn involves engaging with linguistic diversity in it multiple manifestations, local representations and practices by providing a careful historiography of linguistic diversity and a critical analysis of contemporary deliberation on multilingualism across academia and society at large. To the end, the Centre seeks to provide an intellectual space to further a critical rethinking of what kinds of questions we should be asking of language, literary and cultural study, strengthening existing interdisciplinary projects or leading to new ones, and enabling challenging questions to be asked of the disciplines themselves in the reconstitution of a post-apartheid humanities.