Professor Crain Soudien’s new review essay ‘New Accents on the Social: Thinking on South Africa’s history at UWC’ tackles the question of the social through an assessment of three publications produced by CHR faculty and researchers. Out of History: Re-Imagining South African Pasts (Leslie Witz, Jung Ran Forte, and Paolo Israel), Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (Leslie Witz, Gary Minkley, and Ciraj Rassool, and Remains of the Social (Gary Minkley, Maurits Van Bever Donker, Premesh Lalu, and Ross Truscott) are three edited collections that are the result of ‘more than a decade of scholarly enquiry into social analysis’ at the CHR at UWC as well as a collaboration with the SARChI Chair in Social Change at the University of Fort Hare. Examined in relation to how it is the notion of the social has become increasingly significant in the social sciences, Soudien brings these three texts together to suggest that it is in the intellectual site of the CHR that the question has been taken up most forcefully and most deliberately. Soudien’s essay is at once a review of the problem of the problematisation of the social as it is a review of the intellectual labour of the CHR and ‘its aims to build a credible site for critical research’.
Professor Crain Soudien is the Chief Executive Officer of the Human Sciences Research Council, effective 1 September 2015. He is formerly a Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town. He is a joint professor in Education and African Studies. He has published over 180 articles, reviews, reports, and book chapters in the areas of social difference, culture, education policy, comparative education, educational change, public history and popular culture.
He was educated at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and holds a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
He is involved in a number of local, national and international social and cultural organisations and is the Chairperson of the Independent Examinations Board, the former Chairperson of the District Six Museum Foundation, a former President of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies and had been the chair of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation in Higher Education and is currently the chair of the Ministerial Committee to evaluate textbooks for discrimination. He is a fellow of a number of local and international academies and serves on the boards of a number of cultural, heritage, education and civil society structures.