In 1988 the South African academic Ntongela Masilela, in exile in Berlin, appealed for a nativisation and Africanisation of cultural studies in South Africa. Birmingham should no longer be the point of reference for the study of South African culture and history. Rather, South Africa should, he argued, find its ‘own vernacular voice’ and free itself from the harness of European intellectual colonialism by establishing its own frames of reference for studying its culture. In his emphasis on the vernacular, he highlighted South Africa’s geopolitical position within Africa and in doing so widened his appeal for an Africanisation of cultural studies to cover the whole of Africa. Since the late 1980s an increasing number of scholars, based in Africa or elsewhere, have started to lay out the field of African Cultural Studies as an indigenous intellectual project and form of cultural politics. This has coincided with the emergence of transnational cultural studies and the drive to include the sites of knowledge production in the global South within a global cultural studies project. This course will offer a survey of the debates and trajectories that are central to the relatively new field of African Cultural Studies. As well as this, the course will also place African Cultural Studies within a wider transnational context and will look at some of the debates which both endorse and problematise the idea of global cultural studies.

Time: Tuesdays, 16-18h

Place: 9.2.06