Apartheid Studies & Call for Entries for the Encyclopaedia of Apartheid

Nyasha Mboti's picture
Call for Papers
December 1, 2015 to January 2, 2016
South Africa
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Humanities, Race Studies, Social Sciences
Professor Nyasha Mboti, of the Department Communication Studies at the University of Johannesburg, is putting together a set of resources/projects in response to the challenge of a “decolonised” curriculum in the South African university.
The first is a proposition for the founding of a new field of studies, Apartheid Studies. The project of Apartheid Studies addresses the surprising absence of a disciplinary canon on apartheid in South Africa and across the world. Twenty years after the assumed dissolution of apartheid, there is not a single centre or institute for Apartheid Studies at any of the twenty-odd South African universities. This aporia is both surprising and ironic, particularly considering the proliferation of a range of “new” studies in the humanities: Queer Studies, Holocaust Studies, Genocide Studies, Black Studies, Slavery Studies, Trauma Studies, Memory Studies, Poverty Studies, Gender Studies, Feminist Studies, Empire Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies, and so on. There is even a field called Dolls Studies, which theorises the place of the Barbie doll in everyday life. The study of apartheid, on the other hand, does not yet lay claim to any particular constitutive body of theory or theoretical accounts that it can call its own.
Professor Mboti’s forthcoming monograph, Apartheid Studies (Africa World Press, 2016), is an attempt to address this aporia by nominating a canon of apartheid studies. The book is about how apartheid is not just a subject for historians, but also one for theoreticians. In this regard, apartheid can be read and utilised as a theoretical framework, philosophy, heuristic grid, methodology, taxonomy and central toolkit of analysis. With the inauguration of Apartheid Studies as a field, theorising about/with/in apartheid ceases to be an adjunct, bolted-on, or exotic add-on that begs, borrows from, and apologises to other settled disciplines. Rather, it produces its own meaningfulness, its own circuits and layers of meanings, its own concepts, readings, textualities and conceptual histories, its own models, and its own materialities and situated practices. Ultimately, the book sets out to establish the outlines of a new decolonised research agenda. The hope is that, step by step, the habit of token incorporation of bits and pieces of Africa into Eurocentric courses and degree programmes in the humanities is broken, to be replaced by new, Afro-relevant epistemic fields.
The Apartheid Studies project frames a second, equally exciting, first of its kind adjunct project. Professor Mboti has reached an agreement with Africa World Press to edit volume 1 of the first ever Encyclopaedia of Apartheid. The Encyclopaedia is meant to be one of the founding texts of Apartheid Studies. It will be a unique one-stop reference text providing high quality definitions and clear explanations of over 1000 words, phrases, concepts, events and biographies relating to apartheid. No such resource currently exists in any sort of form. It will thus be an immensely welcome text to bookshelves and libraries. The Encyclopaedia project, which will also have electronic and online versions, is intended to be an easily accessible invaluable, high quality, authoritative, current and concise resource for students, researchers and academics interested in apartheid and apartheid studies. It will be of greater benefit to the new generation that is attempting to change states of affairs at South African universities, particularly undergraduate and postgraduate students. Established scholars needing a source for quick, readable introductions to topics, events, issues and personalities should also find it handy. The Encyclopaedia is, admittedly, an enormous project. It is not meant to be a mere compilation of disparate articles; it is, rather, meant to be a glimpse into the true presence of apartheid. The hope is firstly that, as Patrice Lumumba put it, the scars are never forgotten. Secondly, it is that some true intellectual exploring and deeper digging can begin.
Call for Entries for the Encyclopaedia of Apartheid
This call is for authors to contribute concise, alphabetically ordered entries (A-Z) to volume 1 of the Encyclopaedia of Apartheid. The word limit for each entry is 1000 words, excluding references.
Please send expressions of interest to nmboti@uj.ac.za, along with word(s)/topics/keywords/events/name(s) that you propose to contribute an entry on. Deadline for expression of interest is 01 January 2016.
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