How do we understand, imagine and reanimate the past in language? This course explores questions of memory, remembering and time as these are refracted and represented via a range of verbal, literary and performative forms. We will consider the making of collective and public memory (e.g. the creation of national pasts; cultures of commemoration; oral history; testimonial forms; displacement, exile and global conflict; literatures of war) but also the question of individual and personal memory (e.g. language and identity; narrative and subjectivity; literature and psychoanalytic theory) As such, the course opens onto a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: the relation between the literary text and the history text; life-writing, autobiography and memoir; representations of childhood; engagements with the archive; the question of silenced, repressed or invisible histories; the historical, post-colonial and post-apartheid novel; discourses of trauma, truth and reconciliation; forgetting and nostalgia; death and commemoration, the archive and performance.

Lecture times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Period three; 10:00-10:45 OR Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Period four; 11:00-11:45.
Lectures start in the first week of each semester, tutorials start in the second week.

Timetable, tutorial times and tutorial sign-up are published on Vula once you have registered for the course.

Entrance requirements: ELL1013F, ELL1016S and ELL2000F if major, second year status if an elective, or at the discretion of the Head of Department.

DP requirements: None.

Assessment:  Continuous assessment (essays, projects, tests, etc.) counts 100%.

Prescribed Texts, 2024

Kobus Moolman, The Swimming Lesson and Other Short Stories 

Sisonke Msimang, Always Another Country

Lauretta Ngcobo, Prodigal Daughters: Stories of South African Women in Exile

District Six Museum, District Six Huis Kombuis - Food and Memory Cookbook  

Petina Gappah, The Book of Memory

Nadia Davids, What Remains: A Play in One Act

Zadie Smith, The Wife of Willesden

Landa Mabenge, Becoming Him, a Trans Memoir of Triumph

Ruth Morgan, Charles Marais and Joy R. Wellbeloved, Trans: Transgender Life Stories from South Africa