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Academic programme

Overview

The African Studies Unit offers a full academic programme, concentrated at the graduate level but also including some undergraduate courses. The following degrees are offered as part of the graduate programme:

  • Postgraduate Diploma in African Studies
  • Honours in African Studies
  • Taught Masters in African Studies (in which the dissertation counts 50%)
  • Research Masters in African Studies (by dissertation only)
  • PhD in African Studies

The African Studies Unit is staffed by faculty with a range of disciplinary backgrounds, who work collaboratively as an interdisciplinary team. Existing teaching strengths and research directions include:

  • African and African diasporic critical and intellectual traditions
  • Postcolonial and decolonial theory
  • Questions of public culture, heritage and memory
  • Questions of archive and curation
  • Questions of African literature and culture
  • Agrarian Studies and questions of land reform and redistribution
  • African political economy

Students have substantial freedom in constructing a curriculum that suits their interests. There are also two named streams in African Studies:

  • An Honours degree in African Literature and Culture
  • Honours and Masters degrees in Public Culture and Heritage in Africa

Courses

AXL    
1200S    
AXL1200S
A
Africa: Culture ID & Globalisation 
UGRD
AXL    
1201F    
AXL1201F
A
Representations of Africa    
UGRD
AXL    
1202F    
AXL1202F
A
Representations of Africa +  
UGRD
AXL    
2200S    
AXL2200S
A
Culture ID & Globalisation in Africa
UGRD
AXL    
2202F    
AXL2202F
A
Political Thought            
UGRD
AXL    
2203F    
AXL2203F
A
African Political Thought +   
UGRD
AXL    
4200W    
AXL4200W
A
Research Essay/Project       
HONS
AXL     
4201F    
AXL4201F
A
Debates in African Studies   
PGDP
AXL    
4206S    
AXL4206S
A
Decolonial Theory            
PGDP
AXL    
4207F    
AXL4207F
A
Rethinking Africa's Development
HONS
AXL    
5200W    
AXL5200W
A
Masters in African Studies   
MAST
AXL    
5201W    
AXL5201W
A
Minor Dissertation           
MAST
AXL    
5202F    
AXL5202F
A
Problematising the Study of Africa
MAST
AXL    
5204F    
AXL5204F
A
Land & Agrarian Question     
HONS
AXL    
5204S    
AXL5204S
A
Land & Agrarian Question     
MAST
AXL    
5205F    
AXL5205F
A
Rethinking Africa's Development
MAST
AXL    
6200W    
AXL6200W
A
PhD in African Studies       
DOCT

Some of the key courses that will be offered in 2018 include the following courses (please note that an updated version of all courses will be posted on the website around mid January):

Undergraduate

Two courses are offered at the undergraduate level. The course AXL1200S Africa: Culture, Identity and is a service course offered to Engineering students at the University of Cape Town, and should not be taken by students registered in the Faculty of Humanities.

The course AXL 2200S Culture, Identity and Globalisation is offered as part of the main Humanities programme and is open to students in the Humanities in their second year and above, and to Semester Study Abroad students. This course has the subtitle “Thinking Africa Differently”, and sets the following questions as its guide:

What would it mean to think Africa differently? Where would we find the forms of language and the conceptual and methodological strategies which would allow us to do this? How do we escape the strictures of a dominant framework of ideas? What alternatives exist: historically in an anti-colonial and postcolonial tradition, and right now in contemporary popular culture and scholarly practice?

Post Graduate Courses

These are open to Honours and Masters students in the Humanities Faculty, and some other faculties. Some of the courses re open to senior Semester Study Abroad students. Admission to courses is at the discretion of the course convenor.

The course AXL4201F Debates in African Studies: Intellectuals of the African Liberation is a required course for the Honours in African Studies. This course covers topics such as Pan-Africanism, Negritude and race, the politics and truth value of autobiographies, nationalism and national consciousness. Key authors such as Leopold Sedar Senghor, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiongo, Steve Biko are studied alongside Frantz Fanon, Amical Cabral, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Mamphela Ramphele and Zubeida Jaffer.

The course AXL4206S Decolonial Theory & Practice is intended to give an introduction to the growing body of thought and practice coming out in Africa and the global South.

The course AXL 5202F Problematising the Study of Africa: Interrogating the Disciplines is a required course for Masters students in African Studies. This course focuses the paradigms and practices that guide and govern the production of disciplinary knowledge. It seeks to do this by demonstrating the complex relationship between power and knowledge, within the context of the history of Africa since colonialism and the development of the disciplines that study this continent. It draws attention to the links between colonialism and the formation of disciplines, between imperialism and language studies: links,that not only cut across disciplines, but were in fact responsible for formulating those disciplinary boundaries in the first place.

Further links and information

Full details of our academic programme are available in the Humanities Faculty Handbooks http://www.uct.ac.za/apply/handbooks/

For many of our degrees, we admit students both at the beginning of the year (February), and mid-year at the start of the second semester (July).

Interested students are invited to email faculty working in their area of interest for further information, or to arrange a Skype meet.

Applications to the African Studies Unit are made through the central university application system http://www.uct.ac.za/apply/applications/postgraduates/

Students looking for financial assistance are directed to the university’s postgraduate funding office http://www.uct.ac.za/apply/funding/postgraduate/applications/

Guidelines of the African Studies Association for Members’ Ethical Conduct in Research and Other Professional Undertakings in Africa: http://www.africanstudies.org/about-asa/ethical-guidelines

For students in the department:

African Studies Unit Ethics Form 

African Studies Unit Informed Consent Form