English Academy Percy Baneshik memorial lecture: education and the form of the humanities: an ‘institutional re-membering’.
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South African education at all levels is currently recovering from a bad bout of ‘governance as steering’. To restore public confidence the South African academy needs consciously to embrace in its practice the intrinsic form of the humanities. This refurbished understanding will bring into clear focus the humanities’ indispensable contribution to the public good.Without it, these disciplines will continue to be perceived as decorative modes of procedural learning, tangentially serving the instrumental needs of existing government, commerce and industry. The modern conversation of the humanities, seen internationally in the rise of the influential Humboldtian-type research university, and its characteristic form, both originated in the epistemic upheaval which marked the German Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment. By restoring a more democratic educational practice that respects the essential form of the modern humanities, South Africa will avail itself of the indispensable intellectual power of these disciplines to foster, shape and critique the contours and content of South Africa's emerging civilization.
- Faculty of Humanities