This day-long colloquium offered an opportunity for participants to take stock of new methodologies, fresh theoretical insights and new research in the area of public life, and its histories. Our discussions focused on three bodies of new work:

  • contributions to the just published book, Babel Unbound: Rage, Reason and Rethinking Public Life edited by Lesley Cowling and Carolyn Hamilton, with essays by Rory Bester, Lesley Cowling, Anthea Garman, Carolyn Hamilton, Indra de Lanerolle, Susana Molins Lliteras, Nomusa Makhubu, Litheko Modisane, Pascal Mwale and Camalita Naicker. For more Babel Unbound see
  • the contributions to an in-press book, Public Intellectuals in South Africa: Critical Voices from the Past, edited by Chris Broodryk, with essays by Chris Broodryk, Katlego Chale, Lesley Cowling, Luvuyo Dondolo, Rory Du Plessis, Carolyn Hamilton, Pfunzo Sidogi, Keyan Tomaselli, and Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren.
  • and two interventions by Bhekizizwe Peterson focused on the Black Humanities.

Participants were able to read the texts in advance and were  invited to submit questions or comments for selection as the pre-delivered questions. If the questions were not pre-selected they were introduced by the participants in the Open Discussion.


Programme for the Event:

Click below for edited recordings of the Colloquium:

Session 1: Part 1

Babel Unbound Session

Introduction by Lesley Cowling

Presentation by Carolyn Hamilton

Session 1 : Part 2

Question and Answer Session on Babel Unbound

Session 2

The Black Humanities

Introduction by Litheko Modisane

Presentation by Bhekizizwe Peterson

Session 3 : Part 1

Public Intellectuals in South Africa

Introduction by Pfunzo Sidogi

Presentation by Chris Broodryk

Session 3 : Part 2

Question and Answer Session on Public Intellectuals in South Africa


Closing Remarks by Chris Broodryk