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Public history in times of decolonisaton: Reflections on the past and present

When: Thursday, 23 August 2018 - Thursday, 23 August 2018
Where: Braamfontein Campus East
Senate Room, 2nd Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House
Start time:18:00
Enquiries: /011-717 1194

Professor Noor Nieftagodien from the School of Social Sciences will deliver his inaugural lecture.

The lecture will reflect on the ideas and practices that shaped Public History. Contrary to expectations, the moment of formal decolonisaton – the post-1994 era of democracy – did not lead to an embrace of the transformative impulses inherent in Public History. Instead, History came under pressure to support the production of ANC-centric narratives of the liberation struggle and to become institutionalized in the service of mega heritage projects. These objectives of the new ruling elite were always challenged and increasingly so as popular discontent gained momentum from the mid-2000s. It will finally be suggested that the Fees Must Fall movement powerfully and urgently placed on the agenda the need to rethink the role of public universities. Encapsulated in the demand for ‘decolonised education', this movement further opened space to critically reflect on the relationship between the academy and publics. By reconnecting to its roots, Public History, undergirded by rigorous and principled intellectual work and a commitment to dialogical practices, can contribute to a revitalisation of the idea of a decolonised public university. In so doing, Public History can also be reimagined.


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