Page 138 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
As it grows, the project, which is spearheaded by
Professor Carolyn Hamilton, and Professor Pippa
Skotnes, Director of the Centre for Curating the Archive
at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, aims to participate in
developing university-wide policies for the research and
curation of archives, and to establish UCT as a repository
for valuable collections for innovative research. Already it
is developing a postgraduate focus in curatorship, and
is forging relationships with other institutions in the city.
Another initiative that is seeking to preserve the precious
treasures of the past and render these more accessible
to future generations is the Tombouctou Manuscripts
Project, headed by UCT’s Shamil Jeppie, from the
Department of Religious Studies. Since 2002, the project
has been working with various aspects of the manuscript
tradition of Mali, including the research, translation, and
digitisation of ancient documents from the region – one
of Africa’s great historical centres of learning. In 2011,
a delegation from UCT visited Timbuktu to attend a
major academic conference and further cement ties with
researchers there. One of the research spin-offs of this
project is to raise questions about the history of the book
in Africa and the politics of the archive.
Another unit within the faculty that consistently raises
often uncomfortable questions in the national debate
on HIV/AIDS, democratisation, development, poverty,
and public health, is the Centre for Social Science
Research, which marked its 10
anniversary in 2011. It
has spearheaded a number of important new research
initiatives, including a major collaboration with the Max
Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnic and Religious
Diversity. This ‘super-diversity’ project is examining the
increasingly complex social formations inherent in South
African society.
Over the past year, the CSSR has also appointed a
number of key academic staff to assist in the development
of graduate courses in quantitative social science.
As part of other initiatives to nurture teaching and
research, the faculty collaborated with the Faculty of
Law to launch the first-ever university course in Muslim
Personal Law and Human Rights at master’s degree level
– one of four courses that make up the Faculty of Law’s
inter-disciplinary master’s degree in human rights.
The co-convenors of the new course are Professor
Abdulkader Tayob and Dr Waheeda Amien, a lecturer
in the Faculty of Law and a leading member of the
Recognition of Muslim Marriages Forum.
In 2011, the faculty invested in a new high-tech
postgraduate computer laboratory, known as the
Postgraduate Commons, to support senior students.
Professor Ensor comments that all of these initiatives
are part of an ongoing effort to create the conditions
for research to grow and flourish in the faculty, so that
humanities students can continue to do what they do
best: shine a light onto many of the ethical and practical
issues of the time. The ASSAf report – to which Professor
John Higgins of UCT made a significant contribution –
Centre for Social Science Research
The Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) is an inter-disciplinary research centre dedicated to conducting
and building capacity for systematic, evidence-based, policy-relevant, replicable social science research in
South Africa and across Africa. CSSR projects are usually team-oriented, bringing together multiple local and
international researchers, and offering postgraduate students significant opportunities for hands-on training.
Research findings are presented and discussed at regular weekly seminars and published as CSSR working
papers. Substantively, the CSSR conducts research in the broad areas of globalisation, industrialisation,
democratisation, development, poverty, and public health. The Social Surveys Unit conducts research on
a range of social dynamics, using survey data (especially the Cape Area Panel Survey and the Cape Area
Survey) and related qualitative data. The Democracy in Africa Research Unit conducts research on a range
of issues around democratisation in South and Southern Africa, using public opinion data but also creating
new systematic databases on elections, legislatures, and local government. The AIDS and Society Research
Unit conducts research on the social impact of HIV/AIDS, including issues of parenting, disclosure, sexual
behaviour, and public welfare. Finally, the Policy Research on International Services and Manufacturing Unit
conducts research on globalisation, industrialisation, innovation, and the dynamics of global value chains on
developing country industrial sectors.
Director: Professor J. Seekings E-mail: Web:
Research groupings
associated with this theme