Prof Premesh Lalu, (Director, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape)
Topic: "The Humanities After Apartheid"
Abstract: How are we to conceive of the humanities after apartheid? With this lecture, Premesh Lalu proposes two lines of inquiry that may enable us to better grasp what is at stake in the debate about the university in Africa. Firstly, he sets to work on reckoning with the limits of how we have come to speak about the university in Africa, and specifically the humanities, as sites of neoliberalism's most pernicious effects. Secondly, he asks what it would mean to pose the question of the university in Africa by calling for a different history of neoliberalism, one that takes heed of the manner in which race and reason coagulate in university discourse. Both may be questions that reveal the extent to which the humanities share, if not in common, a concept of the post-apartheid through which to reimagine the idea of the university.
Place: Humanities Seminar Room
Bio: Premesh Lalu is Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. Inspired by the student struggles of 1985 in Athlone, Cape Town where he served as a founding member of the Athlone Student Action Committee, he pursued his studies at the University of the Western Cape, University of Natal-Durban (currently University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the University of Minnesota where he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship to support doctoral studies. He is author of The Deaths of Hintsa: Post-apartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring Pasts (Cape Town: HSRC Press, 2009) for which he received a long-list mention from the Alan Paton-Sunday Times Book Prize and received the UWC Vice Chancellors award for best monograph. He is co-editor of Becoming UWC: Reflections, pathways and unmaking apartheid's legacy (Cape
Town: 2012). He has contributed significantly to current debates on the humanities through various local and international newspaper opinion pieces, and in academic articles such as History and Theory, Current Writing in the Journal of Asian and African Studies. Lalu is a former trustee of the District Six Museum and is the current chair of the Handspring Trust of the Handspring Puppet Company.
There will also be a talk by Prof Lalu for Graduate students at the same venue on Tuesday 20th at 14.00 on the topic of 'The Empire and the Nation'