Associte Professor Shamil Jeppie, from the Department of Historical Studies hosted the The Society for the history of the humanities, which held its eighth annual conference at UCT between November 21 and 23. The conference drew papers from scholars from Africa, Europe, North America and East Asia. This was the first time that the Soceity held its conference outside Europe or the US. Two keynote speakers – Prof Elisio Macamo and Prof Martin Scherzinger - addressed core issues in humanities scholarship today particularly in relation to knowledge about and its production on the continent. The former stressed the issue of methodologies that can yield the most insight into conditions on the continent, the latter gave a critique of dominant tropes in the history of musicological research and Africa’s place in this body of knowledge. A panel on theory in the humanities covered the specificity of journals and theory in the humanities, theory in south African universities and theory after slavery. The last session was devoted to some current projects in the humanities on the continent. It was a packed session which ould only be limited to a view projects. It was a lively session which generated a great deal of interest from the whole conference. From such an animated session it is clear that the humanities is not in crisis here. The conferences of the Society is always highly interdisciplinary and comparative and this meeting was no different to previous ones in these respects.
The Society for the History of the Humanities promotes the study of the history of humanistic disciplines including, but not limited to, archaeology, art history, historiography, linguistics, literary studies, musicology, philology, and media studies.
The aims of the Society are to connect experts in the history of these fields and to stimulate research into the earliest developments of the humanities across time and place, their formation into university disciplines, their continuous unfolding in the present day, as well as their relation to the sciences and society.