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Harvard Summer Program in South Africa, June 2–July 29 2016

Harvard University


Deadline:

January 28, 2016

Event Date:

June 02, 2016 - July 29, 2016


Opportunity Cover Image - Harvard Summer Program in South Africa, June 2–July 29 2016

Over the course of eight weeks, you engage in rigorous intellectual exploration, in both formal and informal settings throughout the country, from a multidisciplinary perspective. The program investigates South Africa’s experience as a new democracy; the cultural, economic, and political past-and-present of its indigenous populations; and what its contemporary history has to teach the world at large about a range of critical social issues.

South Africa provides a fascinating and unique context within which to examine African societies and cultures, and to understand the legacy of colonialism on twenty-first-century social and political institutions. This program uses various locales across the nation-state—from Cape Town to Johannesburg, from the Kruger National Park to the Hamakuya chiefdom—to introduce you to contemporary Africa.

The first six weeks of the program include intensive coursework as well as a proseminar, which will include lectures by major South African public intellectuals and excursions to sites of historical and cultural significance. For the remaining weeks, you embark on a pedagogic safari, traveling to the northeastern edges of the country to experience life in a rural chiefdom as well as explore the Kruger National Park.

The program is led by a team of professors and supported by additional local staff. It aims to create a reflective environment for you to relate your experiences and, thus, gain a deeper understanding of your life back home in the United States.

Course of study

AAAS S-171 Study Abroad in South Africa: Pre-colonial and Colonial Perspectives on African Economy, Society, Politics, and Law (33487)

John Comaroff
(4 credits: UN, GR) Limited enrollment.

This course explores precolonial and colonial African societies, examining their social organization; political and legal systems; economies; and more generally their cultural orders. It begins by interrogating popular European images of Africa, and the ways in which the "precapitalist" societies of the continent have been understood—and colonized—by Western social scientists. Examples are drawn from different parts of the continent, but particular attention will be paid to the to the Zulu, Sotho, and Tswana peoples of South Africa, and, by way of comparison, to the Nuer of the Sudan and the Ndembu of Zambia. The relevance of understanding "traditional" African practices for making sense of the African present, and of the present and future of the global north, is a parallel theme of the course throughout.

AAAS S-188 Study Abroad in South Africa: Colonialism and the Dialectics of Modernity (33488)

Jean Comaroff
(4 credits: UN, GR) Limited enrollment.

This course deals with the rise of African modernity. In the first week we consider classic accounts of traditional African cultures, in particular the centrality accorded to religion, magic, and ritual. The course encourages students to rethink accounts that place these worlds outside of history, and seeks to track their complex engagement with international forces of various kinds. In the second week, students explore the novel cultural schemes and identities produced under colonial conditions, and the forms of politics these conditions produced. The final week is devoted to processes of decolonization and the growing impact on the continent of global neoliberalism. This era has given rise to a distinctive postcolonial modernity, which provides a unique perspective on the contemporary world order.

The final, experiential learning, portion of the program is a pedagogic safari in Johannesburg and Limpopo Province. It begins in Johannesburg, Africa's major metropolis, and is devoted to exploring the urban ecology of apartheid and postapartheid South Africa, focusing on the ways in which race and class inflect the cityscapes of the country. This theme is picked up over the following weeks in nonurban contexts, the first of which is an extended journey to the Kruger National Park, where participants are introduced to the making of "nature" and the production of landscape through the past 80 years of South African history. Students are introduced to the management of the wild animals that occupy this landscape. Thereafter, the group settles into their homestays at the chiefdom of Hamakuya, and do mini-ethnographic exercises on life in postcolonial Africa, some of which relates back to the Cape Town coursework.

The final, experiential learning, portion of the program is a pedagogic safari in Johannesburg and Limpopo Province. It begins in Johannesburg, Africa's major metropolis, and is devoted to exploring the urban ecology of apartheid and postapartheid South Africa, focusing on the ways in which race and class inflect the cityscapes of the country. This theme is picked up over the following weeks in nonurban contexts, the first of which is an extended journey to the Kruger National Park, where participants are introduced to the making of "nature" and the production of landscape through the past 80 years of South African history. Students are introduced to the management of the wild animals that occupy this landscape. Thereafter, the group settles into their homestays at the chiefdom of Hamakuya, and do mini-ethnographic exercises on life in postcolonial Africa, some of which relates back to the Cape Town coursework.

Course credit

See Study Abroad Credit Information.

Faculty

Jean Comaroff, PhD, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard University

John Comaroff, PhD, Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard University 

Application

Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

You must be at least 18 years old, have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student, and be in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:

  • A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A statement of interest in the program, including information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
    • Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)

Successful candidates will be asked for interviews.

You will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.

Cost

There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The program cost includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodation and some meals, including all meals in the Kruger National Park and Hamakuya Chiefdom
  • Excursions (including meals when appropriate)

In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:

  • A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
  • Transportation to and from South Africa, as well as domestic flights in South Africa
  • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed). US citizens will enter on a visitor visa for free.
  • Any immunizations

How to pay and funding options

See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.

Accommodations

You will live in various housing arrangements at different points of the program. While in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the group stays in guest houses. You then stay in rest or research camps while in the Kruger National Park. While at the Hamakuya chiefdom, you split your time between a tented research camp and a homestay.

Physical activity

You must be in sufficiently robust physical condition to cope with a rural homestay. 

Additional information

Contact summerabroad@dcemail.harvard.edu.

Watch this video by Julia Dratel, a former program attendee, on her experiences in Cape Town.


Eligible Countries
Host Country
Publish Date
September 28, 2015




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