The Humanities and the Aesthetics of Political Transitions: A Comparison of South Africa and Iran
Considers the uses of the humanities or the arts in negotiating moments of political transition. Explores questions of transgression, understanding evil, and possibilities of empathy and forgiveness in two texts: Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela's A Human Being Died That Night, about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa; and Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, about the Khomeini Revolution in Iran. Both writers make extensive use of literature and film in order to understand the moment of transition. Paper looks at the function of the Humanities in these contexts, and considers theories of the aesthetic such as the work of Theodore Adorno in relation to the political.
Keywords: Aesthetics, South Africa, Iran, transition, Humanities, evil, forgiveness
Ms Cheryl-Ann Michael
Lecturer, Dept of English, The University of the Western-Cape