STIAS launches new long-term theme project on the university

STIAS today announced the launch of a new project among its long-term research themes. The University and Society theme will seek to sketch out the past and the future of higher education in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world and to translate real and perceived instances of disruption and discourse into new directions and practice.

The launch follows a series of consultations with numerous scholars and role-players in South African higher education over the past year, starting with a workshop led by Professor Peter Vale from the University of Johannesburg during September 2016. This was followed by two group discussions involving Prof Vale, Dr David Hornsby (University College London and University of the Witwatersrand), Prof Francis Nyamnjoh (University of Cape Town), Prof Ahmed Bawa (Universities South Africa), and others.

“While the current climate of financial strain and student protest create much of the impetus to embark on this project, some pivotal aspects emerged during the course of these discussion,” said Hendrik Geyer, STIAS Director, ” including the contextualisation of knowledge and the foundational role of established modes of thought.”

“We have also remained cognisant of the fact that current events and discussions in South Africa are not unique and that much of the disruptions and discourses happen in and around universities all over the world,” he continued.

Out of these rationales, four areas of inquiry were identified with the aim to encourage contributions from South Africa, Africa and other part of the world by individual and team applications to the STIAS fellowship programme. the four sub-themes are:

  • Understanding the colonial legacies and post-colonial realities of the university
  • The entanglements of knowledge traditions and transitions in the university
  • Understanding the contemporary university
  • The university of the future

More information can be found on the STIAS website at www.stias.ac.za/research/themes/university-and-society/. Prospective applicants within this theme project are referred to the STIAS website for information on Application to the STIAS Programme.

This long-term theme project of STIAS will be conducted in partnership with other South African knowledge institutions. Initial conveners for the project are Peter Vale, David Hornsby and Francis Nyamnjoh.

One response to “STIAS launches new long-term theme project on the university”

  1. geoffrey harpham
    geoffrey harpham on 5 October 2017 at 15:16: Reply

    This project is beautifully conceived and extremely timely. It will make a valuable contribution to South Africa, and the larger African context, and may also serve as a model for such inquiries elsewhere in the world. As the project description rightly points out, the issue of disruption has taken many forms and should be considered a global rather than a local phenomenon. As an independent research institute, STIAS is well positioned to sponsor this work.

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