Humanities Graduate Centre
The Centre provides the ultimate interdisciplinary environment for postgraduates with doctoral fellows from:
- The Schools
The Centre also has space for masters and honours students and is a networking hub – linking junior postgraduates with senior PhDs.
- Mentorship is an ongoing resource that leverages the skills of PhD Fellows in supporting masters and honours students, assisting them to cope better with their research demands.
- The mentorship facility is also available to new/junior PhD students to receive support from senior doctoral candidates and past PhD Fellows of the Centre.
To Incubate World-Class African Thinkers!
The Humanities Graduate Centre (or “Grad Centre”, as it is commonly known) has been designed to help constitute and nourish a new generation of diverse South Africa-based scholars. Its principal aims are to:
- Attract the most motivated, creative and talented humanities students to the academic vocation
- Offer cutting-edge training of the highest quality in the theoretical framing, methodological conceptualisation, execution and publication of research in the Humanities and Social Sciences
- Promote the highest level of academic achievement and future professional success among postgraduate students in the Humanities
- Provide an experience for postgraduate students that is both intellectually challenging and socially supportive
- Generate and sustain scholarly conversations across disciplines that foreshadow the research agenda of the next generation of African scholarship in the humanities and social sciences
The Centre runs regular programmes throughout the year. These include:
- The Resident PhD Seminar Workshops which provide a platform for registered PhD students to present their research to their peers.
- The Resident Fellows Guest Lecture Series which invites young scholars trained in SA universities to present their work to the Wits and Isizinda Sokubhala programme.
The Centre offers:
- Working space for PhD students 24/7
- A dedicated lab for Masters and Honours students
- Space and research equipment for postgraduate students
- A venue for discipline-specific academic workshops run by various schools/departments from across the University
Associate Professor Hugo Canham
Telephone: 27 (0)11 717-8203
Front Desk Team
Mr. Gwinyai Taruvinga
Mr. Gabriel Shamu
Ms Fikile Masikane
Ms Sindiso Ndlovu
telephone: 27 (0)11 717-4032
Humanities Graduate Centre
South West Engineering Building
University of the Witwatersrand
THInK (Transforming the Humanities through Interdisciplinary Knowledge): Towards a New Generation of African Scholars
In 2016, the Faculty of Humanities, through the Grad Centre, launched a new interdisciplinary doctoral studies programme, generously supported by the Mellon Foundation. Known as THInK ("Transforming the Humanities through Interdisciplinary Knowledge") The initiative will unfold over the next five years, and hopefully for five years beyond that.
Each year we will recruit four exceptional doctoral fellows, prioritising Africans--and especially black African South Africans--who are passionately committed to pursuing a career as teaching scholars in the African academy and whose research explores interdisciplinary terrain in unusually imaginative and path-breaking ways.
THInK is premised on the assumption that the South African academy will be fundamentally re-imagined and remade by the generation of largely black scholars who will fill its junior ranks in the years to come.
Against existing models that anticipate a crisis in the reproduction of existing forms and practices of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences in South Africa, the THInK initiative acknowledges that some of the most energetic academic staff and postgraduate students in the Faculty are already forging new trajectories of reading, new questions and methods of research, new modes of scholarly invention and collaboration, and new forms of scholarly expression.
The goal of the THInK programme is to support ongoing initiatives and to open an enabling space for experimentation - a laboratory environment that foregrounds and supports creativity and collaboration, not only among the THInK Doctoral fellows but among all students and academic staff in the Faculty already working towards this model of knowledge-making, as a complement to other innovative departmental and School-based doctoral support initiatives.
Our initial theme is African Time, understood very broadly as a path of inquiry that opens onto trans-disciplinary ways of imagining Africa’s future in light of a serious engagement with its past; that explores temporality as a key dimension of African knowledge, experience, identity and social practice; and that poses the relation of Africa and Africans, both on the continent and in diaspora, to time as a stubbornly politicised object of knowledge, one that persistently provokes contentious debate as much as it evokes possibility and potentiality.
The THInK initiative welcomes the participation of all students and academics in the Faculty. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Scholarly Vocation
Short-term Post-Doctoral Fellowships or Post-PhD Submission Fellowships
The HGC annually offers a number of short-term Post-Doctoral Fellowships or Post-PhD Submission Fellowships, these provide:
- Support: Both financial and intellectual enabling students to develop chapters of their thesis into peer-reviewed publications.
- A Sense of Community: This enhances the possibilities for scholarly support and collaboration among students entering the post-doctoral phase of their careers.
Academic Professional Development Workshops
In conjunction with the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) the Grad Centre is launching a programme of Academic Professional Development Workshops each of which will deal with a different facet of everyday life in the academy, from presenting an academic job talk, preparing course outlines, evaluating manuscripts for scholarly journals and writing letters of reference for students.
- To ensure Wits graduates have a portfolio of knowledge, skills and publications that will enable them to effectively compete for the best academic positions nationally and internationally, and to flourish as scholars from the outset of their University career.
- To foster in emergent scholars a fluency in disparate domains of theory, as well as the versatility and agility that will be required for them to cross-disciplinary thresholds and redraft the very boundaries of knowledge.
Postgraduate Training in Research Methods
The HGC provides an annual cycle of methods workshops run by expert scholars. These coincide with the appropriate stages in a student’s research journey.
- Development of a research proposal
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- Presentation of results
- Scholarly publication
- Expose students to the diverse range of methodological strategies and techniques that can be deployed, either singly or in combination, in research.
- Provide in-depth training in such strategies and techniques, showing students how the choice of methodological strategy is inextricably linked to the use of concepts within a broader theoretical framework.
- Introduce students and academic staff to new methods as the direction, focus and theoretical orientation of research in the Humanities and Social Sciences changes over time.
A number of workshops are offered through the Grad Centre annually, with total attendance numbering well over a thousand students.
The Humanities and Social Science methods workshops have now been incorporated into the university-wide Post-Graduate Support Programme administered by the University’s Division of Postgraduate Affairs.
Postgraduate Student-Initiated Research and Learning Collectives
To provide the space and the financial resources that postgraduates require to initiate their own independent explorations in:
- creative work
- Policy-oriented research
Initiatives often rely upon collaboration with doctoral programmes in each discipline, the faculty Research Chairs, Centres and Institutes.
- Self-organised courses
- Thematic student-staff reading groups
- Workshops with international visiting scholars
- postgraduate symposia and conferences
- Horizontal Group on the Subject, Subjectivity and Subjectification
- The Social Theory Group
- The Critical Knowledge Production Collective
- The Reading Group on African Critical Thought
- Interdisciplinary reading groups involving PhD students and staff
Isizinda Sokubhala - Place of Writing
The Humanities Graduate Centre in collaboration with the Wits Writing Centre and the Centre for Creative Writing hosts writing sessions for Postgraduate Students titled Isizinda Sokubhala - Place of Writing.
To develop writing momentum and community.
- A 4-hour morning write-in
- One-to-one consultations
- One-to-one consultations
Humanities Graduate Centre
To indicate your interest e-mail Gradcentre.Humanities@wits.ac.za .