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WRITIVISM RESIDENCY AT STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY: new opportunity for emerging African writers.

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NOTE: The English Department hosts the 17th Triennial ACLALS Conference, "stories that float from afar", from July 11 to 15, 2016

CFP deadline has been extended to 15 February

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The Department of English focuses on the study of local and international literature written in English, and also offers elective courses in literary, film and cultural studies as well as creative writing. The undergraduate core courses range widely over different periods, genres and localities, providing instruction in traditional areas of English literary studies as well as in postcolonial literary studies and cultural studies. Through its emphasis on small-group teaching seminars, our curriculum enables students to shape their studies according to their own interests and needs.

The intensive Honours course both consolidates the work done at undergraduate level with a compulsory theory course in twentieth century thought pertinent to literary and cultural studies, and a compulsory long research essay that prepares the ground for study at Masters level. Here staff teach in their areas of research and students choose from a range of topics as diverse as nineteenth century studies, contemporary East African studies, literary practices, narrative theory, ecocriticism, biographical studies and modernity.

Over the last few years we have recruited a large and diverse body of masters and doctoral students from scattered geographies who work more often than not with a supervisory team, and also participate in our research seminar programme as well as in courses offered in the African Doctoral Academy and in a number of reading groups organised by staff. Staff and postgraduate students are active in a number of Departmental projects like our Transitions and Translations project which sets up collaboration with colleagues from a number of partner universities in East, West and Southern Africa, and has brought a new dynamic to our work in African literature. The Stellenbosch Literary Project (SLiP), its website (SLiPNet) and the public performance sessions of Inzync have engaged staff and students with a wider public in ways that have opened us to the power of the critical word, of literature and the performative in our contemporary lives.

Our fifteen full-time members of staff and almost thirty tutors (who are also our postgraduate students) are committed to the value of the critical imagination, of hard work and to an esprit de corps in the Department. We have, we believe, a vibrant and supportive place of study and of personal growth in an institution that is attempting to re-invent itself.


For more than three centuries, the Cape has served as a passageway linking West and East, North and South. This varied conjunction of the local and the global, the historical and the geographic, consciously inflects our teaching and research goals in the Department of English at Stellenbosch University: We ask how forms of reading and representation mean differently, in different times and places.


Overall, we envisage the discipline of English as a series of considered, creative encounters between worlds and texts. Our research areas such as queer theory, critical nature studies, diaspora studies and life writing contribute to our ability to position "English" as a space which accommodates inventive forms of thought, agency and relation. Our goal is to enable students to find creative ways of linking lived experience and imaginative projection to the exploration of varied  texts and contexts. Central to this process is the teaching of self-reflexive thought and expression. These proficiencies are central to success in many careers - in media, education, NGOs, law, public service - since they form an excellent skills repertoire through which to engage with the diverse demands of a transforming African society.

We encourage a collegial, inclusive research community in which all participants (staff, postgraduates and undergrads, fellows, professors extraordinaire and emerita) are prompted to produce original and innovative scholarship. To this end, there is a programme of regular, advertised events: weekly research seminars featuring regional and international speakers; workshops (research methods, proposal writing, creative writing, community engagement), and active reading and writing groups. Such fora complement the department's vibrant SLiPnet initiative (http://slipnet.co.za/), offering productive environments in which the pleasures and challenges of "English" can be publicly performed and debated, in Stellenbosch and beyond.


Affiliated Sites

This research theme is concerned with modes of representation and interpretation, and specifically with the ways in which Africa is figured in local and global imaginaries.

The Stellenbosch Literary Project, was set up as a public media and events platform to advance literary and performance culture in all languages in South Africa.

A project of the Department of English at Stellenbosch University, SLiP also acts as a hub for community engagement in the both the literary and performance spheres.


  • Atlantic and Indian Oceans: crossings and encounters
  • Genders and sexualities
  • Life writing and fictions of the self
  • The local, the global and the transnational  
  • Reading the nineteenth century
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Southern and Eastern African studies
  • The Cultures of Nature



Doctoral Dissertations

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