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Head of School: Associate Professor Clive Chandler

School Profile

The School of Languages and Literatures was formed in 2002 through the amalgamation of the Department of Southern African Languages and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. The School brings into one organisational unit the teaching of languages and literatures (excluding English Language and Literature) at the University of Cape Town.

We recognise the complexity of our position at the southern end of Africa, in a University which strives to be fully part of Africa and the wider world. The range of languages taught in the School and the research done by staff and students of the School reflect this.

The teaching and research area of the School is wide, covering language, literatures and cultural studies in Afrikaans, Arabic, Dutch, French, Business French, German, Classical Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Sotho, Spanish, and Xhosa, and Special Purposes teaching in Afrikaans and Xhosa. There is also a strong emphasis on the role that these languages and literatures and the cultures they embody, have played and continue to play in Africa. Research in the School also encompasses Literary Semantics, Literary Theory, Afrikaans Media Studies, Creative Writing in Afrikaans and Xhosa, Xhosa Lexicography, Historiography, Multimedia, Literature and the Internet, War Literature, Ancient Literature, Philosophy and Rhetoric, French literature from 17th century to the present, French Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, Teaching French as a Foreign Language, German Colonialism and Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Contemporary German Literature, Literary Theory and Women’s Studies, Italian and German post-war Cinema, Italian Literature of the 20th century, Asian Cinema, Italian Renaissance Literature, Modern and Ancient Hebrew Literature, Classical Arabic Literature and Islamic Studies and Hispanic Literature.

The School’s awareness of its location in Africa is reflected in many of its research projects. Among these are studies of language learning in the African context, Xhosa linguistics, African oral traditions and orature, Literature and Cinema in Francophone West Africa, the Translation of Southern African Literature into French, Sephardi Women Writers from the Maghreb, German Colonial Discourse in Africa and German Missionary Writings, Comparative Perspectives on German/Afrikaans Literature.

The School has a number of formal and informal links with universities elsewhere in Africa (e.g. National University of the Ivory Coast at Abidjan, University of St Denis in Réunion, University of Zimbabwe), and further afield (e.g. ENS Cachan - Grenoble 3 Stendhal, University of Bologna).


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