Dear Colleagues and Friends,
On behalf of the staff and fellows of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, I would like to thank you for your support in launching the DST/NRF Flagship on Critical Thought in 2016.
As I write, we have just heard about the publication of an edited volume of the best papers in the first twenty years of the CHR/History Department Seminar series titled Out of History. We now await the arrival of Remains of the Social which is due for publication in March 2017. The book is a collaboration between the CHR and the SARChI Chair in Social Change at the University of Fort Hare and will be published by Wits University Press. We are also due to welcome Professor Jane Taylor as the Andrew W. Mellon Chair in Aesthetic Theory and Material Performance, as we look forward to welcoming a new cohort of fellows and lecturers in Aesthetic Education, Political Theory and Philosophy supported by the Mellon Foundation and the National Research Foundation. In 2017, we will host directors of Humanities Centres and Institutes from around the world for the CHCI’s Humanities Improvised Annual meeting. With a lineup that includes Isaac Julian, Elizabeth Giorgis, Alya Sebti, William Kentridge and Homi Bhabha, the meeting promises to be a highlight on the 2017 calendar.
In 2016, the CHR has developed into a major contributor to debates on the future of the University. Mostly, we are proud of our 2016 graduates and our achievements in the areas of research, publication, public debate and artistic practice. And we would like to thank you for your support of our activities. Our achievements will be detailed in the forthcoming annual report.
Each year, we conclude with the annual Barrydale Reconciliation Day performance. In 2016, the performance was a reminder of our deep commitment to directing the arts towards redefining the questions of constituting a post-apartheid future. Under the supervision of the Handspring Puppet Co., Aja Marneweck, Jill Joubert, Peter Tokela and Derek Joubert, the CHR fellows belonging to the Ukwanda Puppet and Design Co. produced the centre-piece of an extremely professional production. These included five giant elephant puppets for a play that dealt with human-elephant relations in South Africa. The overall production took one year to complete and included a total of 280 participants in various roles. We were very pleased to be joined by colleagues from the ICGC at the University of Minnesota and Jackman Humanities Centre at the University of Toronto who joined us in making the 2016 production such a milestone in our seven-year collaboration. The attached images are enclosed to encourage hope and desire in these troubled times. I hope you find in them a reason to enter 2017 with renewed energy and passion.
Thanks to Riaa’d Dollie for the wonderful images.
Premesh Lalu (Prof.)
DST/NRF Flagship on Critical Thought in African Humanities
Centre for Humanities Research
Faculty of Arts
University of the Western Cape