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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5961M Anti-Apartheid: Cultures of the Struggle

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr William Jackson

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module is designed to provide a South African dimension to the Race and Resistance MA programme – though it will be of interest to students on the MAs in Modern History and Social and Cultural History as well. The module's primary aim is to deepen knowledge of a history that students may feel they already have some limited understanding of: the anti-apartheid struggle lends itself to heroic and romantic narratives, epitomised by the life of Nelson Mandela and the successful transition from a racist state to a 'rainbow nation'. The module complicates this picture by providing a simple chronological / thematic framework to contain a wealth of primary sources that students will be, to a considerable extent, free to navigate as they wish. Published primary source collections include the six-volume documentary history of African politics in South Africa, From Protest to Challenge (Carter, Gerhat, Karis and Glaser) and the South Africa Reader (Crais and McClendon). Assessment methods (two course work essays) will allow students to depart from the seminar topics or investigate a particular aspect of a topic in extra depth.


(1) To gain a knowledge of the opposition to apartheid, principally within South Africa but with a global dimension as well, through its cultural history.
(2) To expose students to a substantial quantity of primary sources that comprise the struggle against apartheid.
(3) to develop a critical sensitivity to the cultures of politics and the politics of culture; to recognise the centrality of cultural expression to the ostensibly political project that was opposition to apartheid.
(4) to incorporate into our analysis a sense of the diverse, variegated histories of anti-apartheid activism; to use cultural sources to enter the social histories of the struggle

Learning outcomes
Students will gain an intimate knowledge of the South African anti-apartheid struggle in its cultural context. They will be familiar with a historical narrative that charts the transition from segregation to apartheid and the changing ways in which a racist state intruded into South Africans' lives. It considers the relevant significance of key moments in the second half of the twentieth century, including the Defiance Campaign, the Sharpeville massacre, the Rivonia Trial and the Township wars. Students will be familiar with predominant literary genres and tropes, describing Black life; incarceration and exile; forced removal; White anti-apartheid activism; anti-apartheid sociality and family life. Individual seminars will look at the anti-apartheid movement beyond South Africa and the memorialisation of apartheid since 1994.


1. Introduction
2. 'The struggle' before apartheid
3. The destiny of the Afrikaner: apartheid and settler myth
4. The 1950s: Sophiatown, the Freedom Charter and Drum
5. Sharpeville, Armed Struggle and Rivonia
6. The Struggle in Exile
7. Gender and the Struggle
8. Forced Removals and the Memory of Loss
9. Township wars and militant youth
10. Ending Apartheid
11. South African culture after apartheid

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students are expected to prepare thoroughly for each seminar. This will include:
- the reading and analysis of set materials.
- broader, directed-reading.

The module includes two pieces of formal written assessment, and one student presentation. For these, students will need to:
- carry out independent research
- read widely and consistently in order to develop a breadth of knowledge adequate for successful class participation
- develop appropriate skills of criticism, analysis, referencing, and articulation

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of exam week 255.00
Report2,000 word report due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 830.00
PresentationVerbal presentation accompanied by 1,000 word report, due throughout the course (to be specified by tutor)15.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 31/01/2020 16:00:28


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