Page 135 - UCT Research Report 2011

Basic HTML Version

(QS) rankings of universities (in which UCT
is the only African university to feature in the top 200),
subject areas within the Faculty of Humanities – notably
English language and literature, history, and education –
are among the highest performers, helping to push the
university to its overall ranking of around 160.
Return on investment
Professor Ensor maintains that this is because the
university has a strong belief – and has made a significant
investment – in humanities in recent years and that this
is starting to pay off. “The faculty values intense and
invigorating teaching and learning,” says Professor Ensor.
“In the past decade, several major new initiatives are
helping to foster research and scholarship.”
The most notable of these are the establishment of the
Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) in 2010, which
is focusing and channelling inter-disciplinary research
in two broad themes:
On Being Human
Circuits of
, and in 2008, the founding of the Gordon
Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), which
facilitates new collaborative and inter-disciplinary creative
research projects in the disciplines of music, dance, fine
art, drama, creative writing, and film and media studies.
Other important research groupings in the faculty include
the Centre for Contemporary Islam (CCI), the Institute
for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (ICRSA), the
Centre for Curating the Archive (CCA) and the Centre for
Social Sciences Research (CSSR).
The faculty is also home to four DST/NRF SARChI Chairs
in: Archives and Public Culture (held by Professor Carolyn
Hamilton); Land Reform and Democracy in South Africa
(held by Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza); Migration,
Language, and Social Change (held by Professor Rajend
Mesthrie); and Islam, African Publics and Religious Values
(held by Professor Abdulkader Tayob).
The scholarly range of the SARChI Chairs illustrates
the breadth of research in the faculty, which spans 15
academic departments in three main clusters – the arts,
the social sciences, and the creative and performing arts.
Inter-disciplinary research and
Research highlights from the past year span many
departmental and research groupings. For example, the
project on Archive and Curatorship (ARC), pulls together
a number of projects across the university involving the
collection, curation, and digitising of unique archives.
Boosted by a Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Grant, ARC
launched a new website in 2011 ( that
showcases many of these unique collections and provides
a platform that radically opens up knowledge for public
humanities footprint
Next generation
The humanities have long been vital to the
creative and critical energies of societies in
the throes of profound change. HUMA – the
Institute for Humanities in Africa – was launched
in 2010 at UCT, to create a space of dynamic
inter-disciplinary community for scholars and
students in the humanities at large. HUMA’s
two overarching research themes are On Being
Human and Circuits of Consumption.
The Institute is located in the faculties of Humanities
and Law, thereby taking a broad view of the
humanities, encompassing the social sciences
and law.
In a milestone step in 2011, HUMA recruited its
first doctoral researchers. Professor Deborah Posel,
HUMA’s founding director, welcomed the researchers
into the institute’s fold.
“Our doctoral programme occupies a central place at
HUMA – it’s at the heart of our efforts to contribute
to the next academic generation,” she says. “I am
thrilled to be working with four talented, lively and
(From left) Sarai Chisala, Safiyya Goga, Bianca Camminga
and Justin Brown are HUMA’s first doctoral researchers.
intellectually curious doctoral fellows who have also
committed themselves to playing an active part in shaping
HUMA’s future.”