Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa

Print Culture and Publishing in Southern Africa

Print Cultures South Africa

Projects

Print Culture and Publishing in 20th Century South Africa

British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Fund (2014-16)

This research partnership examined the institutions and processes behind textual production and the role of print culture in constituting national identities in South Africa in the 20th century. Its main objectives were:

  • To assess the role of the publisher in South African literature and culture, focusing on the continuities and discontinuities during the 20th century and addressing how control over the production and circulation of printed books shaped literary and cultural development.
  • To explore the interventions of the publisher in the constitution of national identities, in particular during the apartheid period.
  • To carry out new research into the formation of reading publics and the impact of reading cultures during South Africa’s history, in particular during the anti-apartheid struggle.
  • To examine the British booktrade to South Africa at pivotal periods in its history, namely: during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), in the aftermath of the South African union (1910) and during the apartheid period (1948-94). The literary, political, ideological and economic dimensions of this trade will be addressed.
  • To gather and disseminate information relating to book history and print culture studies in Southern Africa, through the creation of an online portal.

Original research was carried out into publishers’ archives and state archives in the UK and South Africa. Partners examined the history of South Africa’s national publishers and also the publishing networks that were established between the UK and South Africa, focusing on the relationship of these publishers with the South African state and their impact on the formation of reading publics.

The project was led by Dr Caroline Davis, Oxford Brookes University (PI) and Professor Archie Dick of the University of Pretoria (Co-I) with Dr Elizabethe le Roux (Pretoria) and Dr Jane Potter (Oxford Brookes). It led to a series of colloquia and research seminars and resulted in a number of joint publications, which stimulated and promoted new scholarship in this field, including a special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies on Print Cultures in Southern Africa, edited by Caroline Davis, Archie Dick and Elizabeth le Roux (June 2018), a collected volume, The Book in Africa: Critical Debates edited by Davis, Caroline and David Johnson (Palgrave, 2015), and a special issue of Critical Arts on ‘South Africa’s Publishing and Reading Culture (2014).

Histories of Publishing Under Apartheid

Newton Mobility Fund, 2018-19

This project seeks to examine the role of publishing in the cultural struggle, both for and against apartheid, in South Africa. It builds upon an existing partnership between Oxford Brookes University and the University of Pretoria, and supports new research in print culture and publishing studies to address the activities of publishers, authors and readers within a repressive environment. The factors that directly influenced book production and reception at this time include the presence or absence of publishing opportunities, the intended and actual audience, and the effects of political repression (in particular, censorship, banning and exile). A key focus, which has not been previously considered, is the deployment of international networks, especially with the UK, to circumvent state control. This project will also provide a forum for examining continuities and changes for South African writers and readers since the end of apartheid, to better understand the lasting effects of the resulting knowledge inequalities in the post-apartheid period.

The project is led by Dr Elizabeth le Roux (University of Pretoria) as PI and Dr Caroline Davis (Oxford Brookes University) as Co-I.

Agents of Change: Publishing and Print Culture in Southern Africa

Global Challenges Research Fund, 2017-18

This research collaboration between Oxford Brookes University and the University of Pretoria addressed the challenges facing Southern Africa in terms of equality of knowledge production and access. It aimed to support new research in publishing studies to help tackle entrenched racial, linguistic and geographical disparities in the knowledge infrastructure.

Some key questions were examined: how can new research in publishing studies address inequalities in global knowledge access and production? And does digital text offers a viable alternative to print as a medium of publication and knowledge circulation?

A two-day workshop in Pretoria in May 2018 brought together scholars, publishers, authors and publishing educators across the region to examine challenges affecting knowledge production and access in Southern Africa, to define research priorities and to pave the way to address these challenges in a collaborative way.