The Faculty of Humanities houses 19 departments focusing on academic fields of the Social Sciences, Arts, and the Performing and Creative Arts:

Head of Department: Professor Suren Pillay

African Studies offers a full academic programme, concentrated at the graduate level but also including some undergraduate courses. Typically, our students are interested in critical, interdisciplinary, Africa-focused scholarship. They are interested in thinking outside of the frameworks of an inherited set of knowledge projects. And they are interested in taking seriously the critical and intellectual traditions of the global south.

Linguistics is the science of language. It is not about learning a new language; rather, we study everything about language itself, ranging from how speech is produced to the relationship between language and the human mind / brain, and the role language plays in society.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-asl

Department email: asl@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 4034

Office location: Harry Oppenheimer Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: A/Professor Fatima Seedat

Gender Studies explores the power of gender dynamics within multiple fields of social relevance.

Gender Studies is internationally recognised as a field which makes connections, opens doors and challenges familiar ideas. In African contexts, interest in Gender Studies is booming as a result of wide continental recognition that issues of masculinity, femininity/womanhood and sexuality a relevant to all our concerns about independence, freedom from conflict and the development of deep democracy.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/agi

Department email: afs@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 2970 / 021 650 4207

Office location: Harry Oppenheimer Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: Professor Susan Levine

Anthropology is a form of disciplined curiosity about people's life ways and world views. It seeks to understand human interactions in all kinds of social groupings, including families, networks, communities, institutions, organisations, groups, societies and nations. The concepts of 'culture' and 'society' are central to the discipline and help us describe and understand how organisations and institutions work.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-anthropology

Department email: san-admin@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3678

Office location: AC Jordan Building, Upper Campus

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Director: Professor Azeem Badroodien

The School of Education currently offers qualifications in initial teacher education (ITE), continuing professional development (CPD), adult and community education, higher education and educational technology. These offerings span qualifications at different levels: Higher Certificate (NQF 5), Advanced Certificate (NQF 6), Advanced Diploma (NQF 7), Postgraduate Certificate (NQF 7), Postgraduate Diplomas (NQF 8), Honours (NQF 8), Masters (NQF 9) and PhD (NQF 10) level.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/school-education

Department email: sandy.sileku@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 2769

Office location: Neville Alexander Building, Lower Campus

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Head of Department: A/Professor Hedley Twidle

The English Literary Studies Department is home to a wide range of creative and critical engagements in literary and cultural studies. Concerned with the global, the local and the decolonial, our curriculum centralises South African and African literatures while remaining in constant dialogue with international intellectual traditions, asking what it means to read canonical and world literatures from the South.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-english

Department email: ell-english@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 2836

Office location: AC Jordan Building, Upper Campus

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Professor Haupt is on sabbatical from 01 January 2024 until 30 June 2024. During this period, Professor Tanja Bosch and A/Professor Musa Ndlovu are acting co-Directors.

Director: Professor Adam Haupt

The Centre for Film and Media Studies (CFMS) incorporates majors in Media and Writing and in Film and Television Studies, and the Undergraduate Programme in Film and Media Production.

At postgraduate level CFMS offers Honours specialising in Film and Television Studies (including Screenwriting), in Film Theory and Practice (with a focus on documentary film production), in Media Theory and Practice and in Political Communication. At the MA level, we offer specialisations in Film and Television Studies, Documentary Arts, Media Theory and Practice, and Political Communication.

The Centre also manages the UCT TV Studio. 

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/cfms

Department email: fam.info@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3373

Office location: AC Jordan Building, Upper Campus

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A/Professor Campbell is on sabbatical from 01 January 2024 until 30 June 2024. During this period, A/Professor Jean Brundit is acting Director.

Director: A/Professor Kurt Campbell

The Michaelis School of Fine Art is the Fine Art Department at the University of Cape Town. Michaelis is staffed by some of South Africa’s leading fine artists, curators and art academics. Internationally the school is recognised as one of South Africa’s foremost institutions for the study of fine art and art history at an advanced level. The department offers undergraduate courses in Fine Art, and Art History and Discourse of Art. Courses offered include Photography, New Media, Painting, Print-media, Sculpture and Curatorship. At postgraduate level it offers numerous degrees, including the Masters in Fine Art and the Honours in Curatorship.

The School also houses the Centre for Curating the Archive, the Katrine Harries Print Cabinet and the Michaelis Galleries.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/michaelis

Department email: ayesha.mollagee@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 7111

Office location: Hiddingh Hall, Hiddingh Campus

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Head of Department: Professor Adam Mendelsohn

The Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town has a long and proud tradition of academic excellence, professional leadership and social sensitivity. It is the oldest university history department in sub-Saharan Africa. Over more than a century, it has hosted and trained many of South Africa’s most creative, authoritative and impactful historians.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-historical-studies

Department email: admin.historicalstudies@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 2742

Office location: Beattie Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: Professor Jaya Raju

The Department of Knowledge & Information Stewardship (DKIS) is the oldest Library and Information Science (LIS) School in Africa, having first opened its doors to students in 1939. DKIS provides quality postgraduate programmes through innovative teaching and learning experiences based on a dynamic and relevant curricula. It remains a school of choice for LIS in Africa and offers courses such as Digital Curation, Research Librarianship, LIS Leadership and Management, Knowledge Management and Resource Description and Communication.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-dkis

Department email: dkis@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 4546

Office location: Level 5, Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, Upper Campus

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Director: A/Professor Markus Arnold

Students are welcome to register for any language taught by the School of Languages and Literatures, whether or not they have studied the language before. Furthermore, the School welcomes not only those who intend to specialise in any of its languages, but also those who would like to get an introduction to a language and/or are not able to fit more than one or two courses into their degree programmes. The School also offers courses in the fields of cultural, literary, film and historical studies which can comprise a major in Classical Studies and can be taken as electives. 

The School of Languages and Literatures comprises the following sections:

  • AFRICAN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES (including Swahili Communication);
  • AFRIKAANS AND NETHERLANDIC STUDIES;
  • ARABIC LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE;
  • CHINESE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE;
  • CLASSICS (comprising Greek, Latin and Classical Culture);
  • CREATIVE WRITING, THE CENTRE FOR;
  • FRENCH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE;
  • GERMAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE;
  • HEBREW LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE;
  • ITALIAN STUDIES;
  • PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE; and
  • SPANISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/school-languages-literatures

Department email: sll@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 2607

Office location: Beattie Building, Upper Campus

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Director: Professor Andrew Lilley

The South African College of Music is a offering training in music (orchestral instruments, piano, voice, African music, jazz and a variety of theoretical subjects, including history, theory, technology and composition). The department includes sections devoted to African music, jazz, opera and classical music

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/college-music

Department email: music@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 2626

Office location: South African College of Music, Lower Campus

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Professor Weiss is on sabbatical from 01 January 2024 until 31 December 2024. During this period, A/Professor Jack Ritchie is acting Head of Department.

Head of Department: Professor Bernard Weiss

The Department of Philosophy focuses on analytical philosophy, and offers undergraduate courses and postgraduate programmes.

Philosophy academic staff research interests include epistemology, philosophy of psychology and mind, aesthetics, social and moral philosophy (including applied ethics), philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mathematics. 

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-philosophy

Department email: philosophy@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3316

Office location: Humanities Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: A/Professor Zwelethu Zolobe

The Department of Political Studies is home to internationally recognised scholars in comparative politics, international relations, political theory, political behaviour, intellectual history, public policy, and public administration. Based on expertise developed in research, members of the Political Studies department have made contributions to a range of government activities especially in the areas of defence, development, education, local government, mediation, policing and voting..

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-politics

Department email: politicsundergrad@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3381

Office location: Robert Leslie Social Sciences Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: Professor Kevin Thomas

The Department of Psychology's teaching and research interests are concentrated in a number of areas. In general terms its strengths lie in clinical psychology and in research, and in more specific terms, in areas such as child development, gender, psychological trauma, social psychology, cognitive psychology, research methodology and statistics, psychoanalytic theory, and neuropsychology.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-psychology

Department email: aayesha.patel@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3435 / 021 650 3417

Office location: P. D. Hahn Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: A/Professor Leon Holtzhausen 

The Department of Social Work & Social Development offers professional education and training in a range of social service fields. Social Work is historically the foundational professional programme and has been taught at the University of Cape Town since 1924. Social work is a dynamic profession that promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. 

Social Development focusses on the social and economic conditions that enable people to improve their overall quality of life. People with their diverse needs, customs, values and knowledge systems are considered both the ends and the means of development. 

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-social-work

Department email:  socialdevelopment@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3483

Office location: Robert Leslie Social Sciences Building, Upper Campus

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Head of Department: Professor Amrita Pande (Semester 1); A/Professor Frank Matose (Semester 2)

In our teaching and research, the Department of Sociology attempts to explicate the challenges we are facing in South Africa and on the African continent in a globalising world. Research interests include: race, class & identity, globalisation, migration, inequality, land & agrarian questions, social theory, development, urban sociology, labour studies, sociology of the family, social movements, & political violence.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/sociology

Department email: soc-sociology@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3513

Office location: Robert Leslie Social Sciences Building, Upper Campus

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A/Professor Matchett is on sabbatical from 01 January 2024 until 31 December 2024. During this period, Dr Mbongeni Mtshali is acting Director.

Director: A/Professor Sara Matchett

The Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies (CTDPS) focusses on teaching Dance and Theatre performance as forms of critical inquiry, creative expression, pedagogy and public engagement. We view performance as a public platform for contemporary ideas, allowing us to examine and question the fundamental concerns of our times in a space that is at once critical, emotional, and collaborative.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/centre-ctdps

Department email: ctdps@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 7166

Office location: Hiddingh Hall, Hiddingh Campus

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A/Professor Porcu is on sabbatical from 01 January 2024 until 31 August 2024. During this period, Professor Asonzeh Ukah is acting Head of Department.

Head of Department: A/Professor Elisabetta Porcu

The Department for the Study of Religion takes religions and their interaction with other aspects of life, intellectual, political and artistic. It is essentially pluralistic: committed to no particular faith but endeavouring to understand each religion in its own terms, using the tools of textual, historical, sociological and philosophical analysis.

Department website: humanities.uct.ac.za/department-study-religions

Department email: milani.mba@uct.ac.za

Department contact number: 021 650 3452

Office location: Robert Leslie Social Sciences Building, Upper Campus

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More information on the programmes, specialisations and majors, courses, and staff may be found in the Humanities Undergraduate Handbook and the Humanities Postgraduate Handbook.

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