Current Institutional Affiliation
Provincial Archivist, Arts and Culture, KwaZulu Natal

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, University of Michigan
Epistolary Networks and the Politics of Cultural Productions in KwaZulu/Natal, 1860-1910

The dissertation seeks to unravel what made Ekukhanyeni school different from other schools in colonial Natal and how did the institution manage to produce students that continued to maintain intellectual networks with a view to redefining South African society. The dissertation will consist of five chapters or parts. The first part will look at Ekukhanyeni’s education philosophy and curricula and compare it to other schools in Natal. The second part focuses on the letters that the former students of Ekukhanyeni wrote to each other and to colonial authorities. It will treat these letters as documents and suggest that there is a certain development of form and stylistics over time through the development of the epistolary moment into something almost wholly natural. The third part looks at the epistolary moment as a social system, that is, the constitution of networks of correspondence, circles and spheres. In this fourth section I look at the role of the epistolary moment in the construction of culture, society, and politics at the end of the nineteenth century, and I will especially investigate how the epistolary produced a new political sense or a response to power. The fifth part will address the implications of the research for a more nuance theory of the practice of education and curriculum planning with specific reference to South Africa.