Return to Humanism: The Future of English Studies in South Africa

By:
Prof. David Gareth Napier Cornwell
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The views of Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and other advocates of the "Africanization" of South African Higher Education are canvassed. The implications of these views for English Studies are then considered in the context of the humanisms of Es'kia Mphahlele, Frantz Fanon and Edward Said, particularly in the light of Said's emphasis on the importance of a literary education in the production of the "critical reader" — a key contributor to the civic well-being of the liberal democratic state. It is concluded that the multicultural composition of the South African student body, the imperatives of a qualified commitment to "internationalization", and the African cultural paradigm of "ubuntu", all indicate the desirability of a return to a revitalized humanism in the academic practice of English literary studies.


Keywords: Humanities, Humanism, South Africa, Social political and demographic change, English studies
Stream: Teaching and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: On the "Africanization" of English Studies in South Africa


Prof. David Gareth Napier Cornwell

Head of Department, Department of English, Rhodes University
South Africa

Gareth Cornwell is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. He has published mainly in the field of South African literature and was for some years editor of the journal English in Africa. As a teacher he specialises in South African and American literature.

Ref: H05P0754