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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From Shaka to Shakespeare: the study of English in South Africa today
Author:Chapman, MichaelISNI
Year:1997
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Volume:14
Pages:87-95
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:universities
literature
English language
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131759785310101
Abstract:Fifteen years ago the study of English in South Africa was the study of the British great tradition. Today English studies is a guerrilla zone of sceptical interrogation in which the previously marginalized constituencies of black studies, or gender studies, or - the latest US import - diversity studies, write back under the sanction of various ideology critiques. The job market also exerts considerable pressure. What is required now, according to corporate South Africa, is serviceable English in the professions. How might English studies in South Africa accept itself as a contested necessity without sacrificing its integrity as an academic endeavour? The author suggests that Departments of English should break from the singularity of what to students is probably a meaningless exercise - the academic essay - to a writing component that is more various in its testing of different kinds of communication. A course 'From Shaka to Shakespeare', for example, could pivot on two superb rhetoricians from different courtly societies. At the end of such a course, the student would be able to regard both Shakespeare and Shaka as aspects of his own culture. Similarly, the English lecturer would find sources of challenge in these confluences of Africa and the West. Bibliogr.
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