2008 Halle Distinguished Fellow Professor Gary Minkley

During Fall 2008, CSPS welcomed Halle Distinguished Fellow Professor Gary Minkley to Emory University.

Gary Minkley is a Professor of History at the University of Fort Hare (UFH), South Africa and Director of Postgraduate Studies, associated with the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre at UFH. He has a PhD from the University of Cape Town, entitled 'Border Dialogues: Race, Class and Space in the Industrialisation of East London' and has published widely on various aspects of Eastern Cape history. More recently, much of his research and teaching work has been in engaging with public pasts in South Africa and also in the field of visual histories. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled 'Visual Histories, Performance and Public Culture in the Eastern Cape.' He is currently working on the completioin of a co-authoried book with colleagues Ciraj Rassool and Leslie Witz from the University of Western Cape, where he also worked for fifteen years, entitled 'South Africa and the Spectacle of Public Pasts.' Professor Minkley is one of the most distinguished scholars of South African history writing on the public sphere and history of debates and challenges to apartheid in South Africa. His work as a Halle Distinguished Fellow was equally important. He spent his research time working on a volume on how the past is represented in present-day South Africa, with particular emphasis on how this representation of the past reworks the history of race relations and inequality to point to a different and more hopeful future for ordinary South Africans. His work with colleagues also shows how popular representations of the past in the present continue to be the language through which South Africans view what is happening in their society.

During his visit, Professor Minkley consulted with the faculty and staff of CSPS, with students and faculty of African Studies and the ILA, and presented his work in classes and at a number of CSPS and African Studies events. His visit was part of our ongoing collaboration with South African academic and cultural institutions in which we seek to understand how scholarly work can contribute to public debates and how public debates can be incorporated into ongoing scholarly research programs. In particular, we have been working with South African universities and museums and have developed a large constituency of prominent South African scholars and public figures. A prominent component of our program has been continuing informal training of young South African professionals who work in universities and museums. These are the concerns that will continue developing in the planned workshop in Cape Town, South Africa.

We thank Professor Minkley for his thoughtful research and contributions as an Halle Distinguished Fellow here at Emory.

 







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