Workshop in African Studies: "Public Spheres, Personal Papers, Pedagogical Practices: Ruth First’s Academic Postings to/from Dar es Salaam and Maputo"
Fri, October 23, 2009 • 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM • ISESE Gallery / Warfield Center - Jester Center, Room A230
Dr. Barbara Harlow, Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin.
Ruth First, South African anti-apartheid activist, was assassinated in August 1882 by a letter bomb sent from Pretoria to her university office in Maputo. Wife of Joe Slovo, himself a leader in the ANC/SACP, and mother of three daughters, First worked as an investigative journalist in South Africa through the 1950s. Following her 117 days detention in 1963, Ruth left with their children to join Joe in exile in London, where she continued, as writer and advocate, to contribute to the political and intellectual work of national and international liberation struggles, writing books on South West Africa, Libya, coups in Africa – and Olive Schreiner, along with numerous journal articles, academic presentations, and public speaking.
This paper proposes to consider in particular Ruth First’s work in her final years at the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and UEM (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozamibque), with reference to her own biographical trajectory and towards a reconsideration of contemporary and subsequent developments in the institutional history of post-independence education: public spheres (the university), personal papers (the archive), and pedagogical practices (the classroom).
Barbara Harlow is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literatures in the Department of English at The University of Texas at Austin and has also taught at the American University in Cairo (1977-83 and again in 2006-7 as Visiting Professor and Chair of English and Comparative Literature), University College Galway (1992), University of Minnesota Twin Cities (1994), University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg (1998) and University of Natal in Durban (2002). She is the author of Resistance Literature (1986), Barred: Women, Writing, and Political Detention (1992), After Lives: Legacies of Revolutionary Writing (1996), and co-editor with Mia Carter of Imperialism and Orientalism: A Documentary Sourcebook