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HONOURS AND MASTERS ELECTIVES 2019

HONOURS AND MASTERS ELECTIVES 2019

HONOURS AND MASTERS ELECTIVES 2019

Semester 1

1. ELL5042F EARTH; ECOLOGY; HUMANITIES [MA ONLY]:  Dr. Hedley Twidle

2. ELL4063H DIRECTED READING: PROBLEMS IN TEXTUALITY:  Prof. John Higgins

Semester 2

3. ELL4066S GENDER & LITERATURE:  A/Prof. Barbara Boswell

4. ELL4063H [DIRECTED READING] - HISTORY AND HISTORICITY - READING HISTORY AND READING HISTORICALLY:  Dr. Peter Anderson

5. ELL4074S CURRENTS OF THOUGHT IN AFRICAN LITERATURE:  Dr. Mandisa Haarhoff

6. ELL5000S: POPULAR PRINT CULTURES:  Dr. Chris Ouma

7. ELL5033H [DIRECTED READING] CREATIVE WRITING: CONTEMPORARY NON-FICTION AND THE ESSAY:  Dr. Hedley Twidle

 

SEMESTER 1

ELL5042F DIRECTED Reading: EARTH; ECOLOGY; HUMANITIES [MA ONLY]

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Dr. H Twidle

Acceptance for an honours or master’s programme

Course outline:

The environmental humanities is the term for a dynamic and growing field in universities across the world, one promoting interdisciplinary scholarship that explores how we understand the relations between humans and the environment in all areas of cultural production. Ranging from social justice movements to the creative arts, from questions of scientific modelling to the language of government policy, it examines questions of sustainability, human wellbeing and the environment in their broadest sense. In a 21st-century context of increasing pressure on the biosphere, the environmental humanities provide a vital intellectual space that enables researchers, students, artists, writers, scientists, policy-makers and practitioners to reflect critically on the concepts that underlie contemporary environmentalism, as well as broader social imaginings of ‘the natural’. In this co-taught course, we will ask how a critical, politically aware environmental consciousness of the South might be brought forth in the public sphere. What, after all, do we mean when we speak of ‘the environment’? Whose environment, and who gets to speak? Such domains are often deemed the preserve of an economic elite, and tend to be set against the imperative of national economic development. How can we evolve a critical environmentalism that is able to unravel such polarities – of ‘development’ versus ‘the environment’ – while also being aware of the imprint of a colonial and racialised past that has shaped much ‘green’ thought here, and the historical links between the practice of ‘nature conservation’ and political conservatism.

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: First essay – 2000-3000 words (30%). To be submitted at the end of the mid-semester break. Second essay – 3000-4000 words (40%). To be submitted at the end of semester. Portfolio of weekly writing exercises, drafts and journal entries (30%). To be submitted at the end of semester.

 

ELL4063H [Directed Reading] Problems in Texualities

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Prof. J.  Higgins

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours or master’s programme

Course outline:

Psychoanalysis and Politics -In this year’s course, we shall examine four moments of discussion and debate around the difficult and much contested conjunction(s) between psychoanalysis and politics.  Weeks 1-3 Marxism and Psychoanalysis I: Volosinov versus Adorno and Marcuse; Weeks 4-6 Colonial and Postcolonial Theory: Sartre, Fanon, Mbembe; Feminisms: Denise Riley, Jacqueline Rose and Judith Butler; Marxism and Psychoanalysis II: Althusser, Badiou and Zizek.

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: TBC

 

SEMESTER 2

ELL4066S Gender & Literature: African feminist thought

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Associate Professor B Boswell

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours or master's programme.

Course outline:

This seminar explores African feminist theory, women’s literary history in Africa and the theorisation of gender through literature. Drawing on transnational feminist literary theory, while centering feminist theory produced from the location of the African continent and its diaspora, it historically locates women’s literary production and theorisiation of gender, race and sexuality in Africa. The course traces a lineage of African feminist literary criticism and thought, showing how the history of such knowledge production finds resonance and articulation in contemporary writing around race, sexuality and representation.Texts include excerpts from Ifi Amadiume’s Reinventing Africa(1997), Amadiume’s Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in African Societies (1987); Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi’s “Womanism: The Dynamics of the Contemporary Black Female Novel in English” (1985), Molara Ogundipe’sRecreating Ourselves: African Women and Critical Transformations (1994), Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi’s Gender in African Women’s Writing: Identity, Sexuality and Difference(1997), Yvette Abrahams’s “Images of Sara Baartman: Sexuality, Race and Gender in Early 19th Century Britain” (1997), Desiree Lewis’s “Representing African Sexualities” (2011) Pumla Dineo Gqola’s Rape: A South African Nightmare(2015), Makhosazana Xaba’s Running and Other Stories(2013), and Floretta Boonzaier’s “The Life and Death of Anene Booysen: Colonial Discourse, Gender-based Violence and Media Representations” (2017).

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: Written work of 8,000 words, at least 50% of which is devoted to a final essay and 50% devoted to shorter written assignments during the semester.

 

ELL4063H [DIRECTED Reading] History and Historicity: reading history and reading historically.

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Dr P Anderson

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours or master’s programme

Course outline:

This seminar concentrates on the vexed place of history in literary (and cultural) studies. How real and how textual is history? What kind of uses may history be brought to bear upon our reading of literature and culture, and with what security? Is it possible or desirable to read history - both secondary accounts and "primary" archives - with the kinds of caprice that some literary theory urges upon us in reading literary and cultural texts? In particular we will seek to grasp the kinds of feints, dashes and grabs that the so-called New Historicism has brought to our work since the 1980s, and to consider not only its philosophical contingencies, its debt to literary theory, Marxism and Anthropology, but also its method and style. And we'll ask: Can these signatures underwrite a reading of history itself? Students taking this elective will write one paper on the critical methodology and theory of historiography/historicism and will write one piece of creative criticism along the lines of the authors we read, particularly after the example of "the anecdote" in the writing of the New Historicism.

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: TBC

 

ELL4074S CURRENTS of Thought in African Literature

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Dr. M Haarhoff

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours or master’s programme.

Course Outline:

The term ‘diaspora’ emerged as the term of reference for those peoples of African descent resident outside of Africa in the 1950s as most of Europe’s colonies hurtled toward nation formation. Widely used to identify the survivors of the transatlantic slave trade and their descendants, diaspora, in the case of Africa, came to signal both the connection to Africa and the impermeable difference between those remade by slavery in the ‘New World’ and those who endured colonialism on the continent. This course grapples with the term as one in crisis and instability, constituted and reconstituted not only in relation to yearnings for home(land) but also empire. We will trouble some of the narratives we tell about African and African diasporic literary traditions in relation to empire and nation. We will also read how these texts, alongside the theoretical articles throw into crises the terms blackness and Africannes. We will read slave narratives, novels, poetry, short stories, as well as polemical and theoretical texts. Readings will include select poetry by Aime Cesaire and Langston Hughes, the essays from James Baldwin and Ta Nehisi Coates. W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, Alaine Locke’s The New Negro, Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic and Brent Hayes Edwards’ The Practice of Diaspora, Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother, and Hortense Spiller’s “Mamma’s Baby’s Papa’s Maybe”.  Novels: Nella Larsen’s Passing (1929), Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry (1929), Alice Walker The Color Purple (1970), Maryse Condè Who Slashed Celanire’s Throat (2002), Zakes Mda The Cion (2007), Yaa Gyasi Homegoing (2017).

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: A short response paper (500 words) for each week and one long essay (1000-1200 words) at the end of the semester.

 

ELL5000S [Problems in Textuality] Small Magazines and Black Print Cultures

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Dr. C Ouma

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours or master’s programme.

Course outline:

Small magazines, otherwise referred to as “little magazines”, literary magazines, literary journals and/or literary periodicals have contributed to the broader formation of not only African literature, but also in providing a platform for various conceptualizations of Pan Africanism, Anticolonialism and the “long twentieth century” of decolonization. They have provided an alternative ecosystem in which such categories as ‘modern African literature’, ‘world literature’ amongst others have come to find definition and practice. This course will attend to these publications, which range from such periodicals as The New Negro and The Crisis of the period of the Harlem Renaissance, mid-century Cold War literary magazines such Transition and Black Orpheus to the contemporary/millennial “digilittle” magazines and print cultures that include Jalada, Kwani? Chimurenga Chronic amongst others.

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: TBC

 

ELL5033H [DIRECTED READING] CREATIVE WRITING: CONTEMPORARY NON-FICTION AND THE ESSAY

24 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Convener: Dr. H Twidle

Course entry requirements: Acceptance for an honours or master’s programme;

Course outline:

This is a writing-intensive seminar for both ‘critical’ and ‘creative’ writers – a division that we will try to unravel in interesting ways. Each week we will read a short piece and write a short piece. A range of exercises will emerge out of our reading, as we use contemporary essays, creative criticism and narrative nonfiction to generate our own writing tasks and literary ‘field work’. These weekly texts will then be edited into a full portfolio. You will also be required to write two stand-alone essays subjects of your choice, and to keep a semester-long journal. Some exercises might include: experimenting with personal, narrative and critical essays; reviewing imaginary books; using ‘found’ materials and tracing the lives of objects; working within artificial constraints; linking image, music and text; walking in the city and representing space; interviewing and telling the stories of others; profiles and portraits; writing art and music journalism; photo, exploring filmic and documentary ‘essays’. Throughout the semester we will be considering questions of voice, style, audience, creativity, critique, economy, editing and tone. You will also be required to meet and discuss each other’s work in your own time.

  • DP requirements: Submission of all written work and at least 75% of seminar attendance.
  • Assessment: First essay – 2000-3000 words (30%). To be submitted at the end of the mid-semester break. Second essay – 3000-4000 words (40%). To be submitted at the end of semester. Portfolio of weekly writing exercises, drafts and journal entries (30%). To be submitted at the end of semester.

 

Honours Electives from cognate departments.

Subject to approval by the Head of Department, an elective offered by a cognate department may replace one of the listed electives. Ideally electives from a cognate department should be either a core course or an elective from the disciplines or programmes specialised in during the student’s undergraduate studies. Students need to verify with the other department that they meet the entrance requirements before approaching the ELL Honours Course Convenor and Head of Department for permission. 

Examples of cognate departments:

 African Studies

 African Languages and Literatures

 Afrikaans

 Arabic Language and Literature

 Classics

 Drama

 Film and Media

 French Language and Literature 

 Gender Studies

 Hebrew Language and Literature

 Historical Studies

 Italian Studies

 Linguistics

 Philosophy

 Sociology