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Thinking Africa launches newsletter

Date Released: Fri, 29 April 2011 15:11 +0200

The Department of Political and International Studies has recently launched a Thinking Africa newsletter, which will be distributed both nationally and internationally as part of the department’s efforts to broaden understandings of Africa’s people and politics.
At the beginning of 2010 the Department of Political and International Studies launched its flagship project, Thinking Africa, which forms a part of the department’s post-graduate programme. It is headed by a departmental Steering Committee which is advised by a number of associate fellows comprising national and international scholars, including Prof Chrissie Boughey, Dean of Teaching and Learning at Rhodes and Dr Raj Patel, award-winning writer, academic and activist. In essence, Thinking Africa emerged out of three core questions asked by the intellectuals involved: What is Africa? Who is the study of Africa for? What is the study of Africa for?
The project aims to unify a number of national, institutional, research and teaching related demands in a post graduate project that will encourage students to participate more actively in those research projects of staff members related to the study of Africa.
As explained by Associate Professor in the Department of Political and International Studies, and producer of the Newsletter, Leonhard Praeg, “The idea of the newsletter is to strike a balance between a marketing tool and a small but intellectually respectable publication. Currently our thinking is to bring out four, quarterly editions. The aim will always be to situate and advertise the latest developments in the Thinking Africa project, either by providing information about events to come or as a retrospective of events that have taken place,” he said
At the same time, the newsletter will be used as a platform for intervention in debates of relevance to African studies broadly conceived. In the first edition, which will be distributed before the end of this month, the intervention takes the forms of an opinion piece, authored by Prof Praeg, on the debate that has erupted around the “closing” or “disestablishment” of the UCT Centre for African Studies (CAS). In addition to appearing in the first edition of the Thinking Africa Newsletter, the intervention also appeared in the April 15 edition of the Mail & Guardian.
“This term we are also launching the Thinking Africa Junior Fellows, which is open to interested students. We aim to get a permanent blogspot running and it is quite conceivable that quality blogs may, on occasion, also be published in the newsletter,” he said.
Anyone interested in receiving the newsletter can contact Siphokazi at s.magadla@ru.ac.za
By Sarah-Jane Bradfield