We are immensely delighted and honoured to report that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York has approved two grants to the Centre for Humanities Research, starting in 2017.
The first, in the amount of $1,143,000, establishes a Laboratory of Kinetic Objects and Puppetry Arts and a Chair in Aesthetic Theory and Material Practice. The Laboratory builds on a six-year study programme on aesthetics in Africa and Europe, the successes of the existing Artists in Residence programme at the CHR, a seven-year partnership with Handspring Puppet Company, and inter-institutional partnerships connecting artists and humanities scholars. It brings together an experiment in public arts practice and humanities scholarship on the question of the practice of post-apartheid freedom. At the core of our laboratory is the question of how to think of aesthetics and the domains of artistic creation as sites to read and comprehend the dynamics of change in post-apartheid South Africa. The five-year long grant places emphasis on support for postgraduate student fellowships, and includes a Professorial Chair and Artists-in-Residency programmes.
The second grant in the amount of $543,000, will support a four-year long initiative in political philosophy and political theory related to Citizenship and Justice. The project is animated by the question of what it might mean to teach and research political theory and political philosophy in an African university in the contemporary world. Led by the Centre for Humanities Research in partnership with the Departments of Political Studies and Philosophy, the grant will support reflection on the concepts of Citizenship and Justice in ways that seek to understand these in the wake of the plurality of sources of knowledge, and the histories and genealogies of these concepts. It will explore how those concepts are immersed in a concrete politics of knowledge, power and political practices that historically constitutes modernity. The grant will support graduate fellowships, two faculty positions, a colloquium and the development of an undergraduate and graduate curriculum.