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The Old New Black Poetry: 50 Years On
Thursday, 03 November 2016

Current Writing 28(2), 2016: 127- 47

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To Be a Coconut
Thursday, 03 November 2016

Thoughts Provoked by Natasha Distiller’s Shakespeare and the Coconuts: On Post-Apartheid South African Culture.’
Critical Arts 28(2), 2014: 165 - 77.

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Nelson Rolihlahle Mandela (1918-2013): A Tribute to His Contribution to Literature.’
Thursday, 03 November 2016

Current Writing 26(1), 2014: 3 - 11.

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The case of Coetzee: South African literary criticism, 1990 to today
Wednesday, 09 December 2009

[Plenary Paper, International Conference on the Humanities in Southern Africa

University of Pretoria, 22-25 June, 2008]

Michael Chapman

English Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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The 1970s and 80s witnessed a vigorous, often polemical debate in the South African literary field between those dubbed 'instrumental' (or political) critics and those of 'art' persuasion.  The end of apartheid promised a new phase of discussion.  What has happened, however, is not so much a turn to artistic issues, but a turn to continental philosophers (Derrida, Foucault, Levinas) as theorists of an ethical respect for and responsibility to 'Otherness'.  At the centre of such critical attention has been the novelist, J.M.  Coetzee.

 

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World Literature'
Thursday, 13 September 2007

‘World Literature'

The Value of an Unstable Category

Michael Chapman

The last decade has shown renewed interest in the object and/or concept ‘world literature'.  I say renewed interest for, as Damrosch's book What Is World Literature?1 (2003) reminds us, the term has a history dating back to Goethe's (1984) coinage (‘Weltliteratur') in his interviews in 1827 with his young disciple, Johan Peter Eckermann.  Weltliteratur offered Goethe a new literary perspective and cultural awareness, a sense of a rising global modernity.  Linking modernity to capitalist economy Marx and Engels in 1848 would go on to employ the term:

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A Literary Turn
Thursday, 13 September 2007

Introduction

Postcolonialism: A Literary Turn

Michael Chapman

Is there a role for literature - or, to be specific, imaginative literature, or the literary - in postcolonial studies?  And where may one locate South Africa in a field delineated by northern institutional purposes, practices, paradigms and, more pragmatically, career/publishing opportunities?  Such questions provoked by a current project, titled "Postcolonialism: A South/African Perspective", which has eventuated in this selection of essays.

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The Politics of Identity: South Africa, Storytelling, and Literary History
Monday, 17 July 2006
The Politics of Identity: South Africa, Storytelling, and Literary History
Michael Chapman


 My study Southern African Literatures[1] has since its publication in May 1996 occasioned heated responses in South Africa.  Briefly, arguments involve the matter of identity politics:  whose language, culture, or story can be said to have authority in South Africa when the ends of apartheid has raised challenging questions as to what it is to be a South African, what it is to live in a new South Africa, whether South Africa is a nation, and, if so, what is its mythos, what requires to be forgotten and what remembered as we scour the past in order to understand the present and seek a path forward into an unknown future?

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The Critic in a State of Emergency
Monday, 17 July 2006

 

The Critic in a State of Emergency: Towards a Theory of Reconstruction
(after February 2)1
[Kunapipi XIII:1&2: 1991: 1-22]

South Africa has entered upon times of high emotion... By design or accident F.W. de Klerk hit the fast-forward button on February 2: there will be no return to the old
South African ways.2
Given that this was written not by a hack journalist but by one of our leading social analysts, we begin to gauge the impact on South Africans of the unbannings, the mass rallies and, most strikingly, the release of Nelson Mandela.

 

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The Liberated Zone
Monday, 17 July 2006

The Possibilities of Imaginative Expression in

A State of Emergency

[The English Academy Review 5 February 1988: 23-53]

 Michael Chapman

South Africa is undergoing a huge socio-political revaluation. This continues to be provoked by forces which have arisen in general opposition to a fundamentally unjust social and economic system, more particularly since the early 1980s to the sham of ‘tricameral' politics. (In our age of so-called reform, a state of emergency was declared in 1985, lifted briefly, and re-imposed with greater severity on 12 June 1986.) We are simultaneously undergoing a crucial literary and artistic revaluation. 

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