Charne Lavery 22.10.2020
In Episode 8 of Season 2 of the The WISER PODCAST, Charne Lavery discusses how theory from the south can be taken further south, towards the currents and creatures of the Southern Ocean.
The WISER Podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Charne is a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria and a Research Fellow in the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South project (www. oceanichumanities.com) based at WISER. Her work explores literary and cultural representations of the deep ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Southern Ocean and Antarctic seas, researching oceanic underworlds of the global South in a time of climate change.
Despite the recognition of human reliance on the World Ocean as a biogeophysical unit, we continue to live in a world of oceanic fragments carrying legacies of past and present imperial processes. This online conference on ‘Post-Imperial Oceans’ links questions concerning imperial processes across the oceans of the world, and the world ocean as a whole. A set of scholars think with the tensions between the surface and the submarine, through their specific concerns, about post-imperial oceanics today.
Reading for Water is the first workshop of the Hydrocolonialism project. Researchers are invited to choose a southern African novel and reread it with a focus on how water functions in the text. The resulting papers, speaking to and across one another, will be published in a special issue of the journal Interventions.
In the latest episode of The WiSER Podcast, Confidence Joseph, Ryan Poinasamy, Meghan Judge and Mapule Mohulatsi go below the water line as they describe new avenues for research in the environmental humanities and critical ocean studies.
The WiSER Podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Confidence Joseph is an African Literature doctoral candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Mapule Mohulatsi is a reader and writer from Johannesburg. She is completing a PhD in African Literature at Wits.
Ryan Poinasamy is based in the department of African Literature at the University of Witwatersrand.
Meghan Judge is an artist and researcher working on a PhD in creative work at the Wits School of Arts.
All four are fellows of the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South programme at WiSER
ISABEL HOFMEYR: "HYDROCOLONIALISM"
Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor of African Literature at Wits and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. Her latest book, forthcoming from Duke University Press, is Hydrocolonialism: Coast, Custom House and Dock-side reading.
In this episode, she discusses the work with Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, a post-doctoral fellow at WISER.
TIDALECTICS PERFORMANCE BY SHANE COOPER AND THANDI NTULI
Tuesday 12 November
19.00 - 21.00
POOL, Ellis House, 23 Voorhout St, New Doornfontein
Tidalectics is an immersive once-off performance by musicians Shane Cooper and Thandi Ntuli that will navigate the ocean's dynamic flows, currents and tides as a sound-space.
TO SEE WITH THE EARS AND SPEAK WITH THE NOSE A READING CYCLE DEVELOPED BY SINETHEMBA TWALO AND ABRI DE SWARDT
7 November - 4 December 2019 -- Cycle # 1
7 November 18:30 for 19:00, POOL, Ellis House, 23 Voorhout St, New Doornfontein
A Squeeze of the Hand (Words need Love too)
16 November 08:30 for 08:30, Ellis Park Public Swimming Pool, Cnr. North Lane & Erlan St, New Doornfontein
To Shore: A Choreutic Borderline
4 December 18:30 for 19:00, Meet at POOL, Ellis House, 23 Voorhout St, New Doornfontein
Beginning from Amal Donqul’s statement that the sea like the desert does not quench thirst, READING CYCLE #1 invites participants to explore questions of entanglement, chaos, desire, contradiction within everyday life and the imminent unknown. The cycle traces the echogenic qualities of water, its reverberating hums, its fluidity and constant movement back and forth, which impel a becoming (other)wise.
Through a performativity of textual immersion in which boundaries between literary and theoretical genres become porous, and dissipate against and within each other, the cycle enunciates wetness as a conduit for the affective capacities of words. The title points to the sensorium of cetaceans, suggesting a trans-position and embalming of our own orientations to embrace hydromechanics as a gesture of (dis)solution, a streaming of bodies, and a pooling of temporalities. This use of ‘temporal’ touches upon the use of temps in French for both time and weather, heeding us that we should think of time, citing Michel Serres, as aleatory mixtures of the temperaments, of intemperate weather, of tempests and temperature which percolates rather than flows. Time is thus approached as historically thermodynamic. In aligning the sessions with the quarter moons a tidal attenuation and equilibrium is approached outside of chrononormativity. Cast beneath the waters, one crosses over into an aesthetics of drowning.
To See With The Ears and Speak With The Nose forms part of Holding Water - a programme of workshops, reading groups, film screenings and artist presentations that think the oceanic from land-locked Johannesburg, commissioned by POOL and the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South, WiSER, Wits University.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
MONSOON AS METHOD LINDSAY BREMNER 30.10.2019
In this contribution to Holding Water, Lindsay Bremner will present ongoing research by Monsoon Assemblages, the European Research Council funded research project she currently leads. She will discuss the monsoon as a global weather system and how the project has used it as a method to frame three Bay of Bengal cities – Chennai (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Yangon (Myanmar). This has mobilised the monsoon and its modalities – aerial, hydrological and geological – to generate new concepts, new drawings and new methods of urban research.
JOHANNESBURG'S OCEANS WiSER COLLOQUIUM
Friday 25 October 2019
10.00 — 16.00
VENUE: WISER, 6TH FLOOR RICHARD WARD
BUILDING, EAST CAMPUS, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG
10.00 — 10.15 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION — CHARNE LAVERY: CONTINENTAL TILT
10.15 — 11.45 SESSION 1
PAMILA GUPTA: JOBURG’S POOLS; CONFIDENCE JOSEPH: WATER SPIRITS IN WATERLESS SPACES; JONATHAN CANE: CONCRETE OCEANS
12.30 — 14.00 SESSION 2
BIANCA BALDI: PLAY-WHITE — A SUBAQUATIC TALE; ZEN MARIE: PARADISE FALLEN; MEGHAN JUDGE: TOWARDS A POETICS OF CORROSION
14.30 — 16.00 SESSION 3
ZAYAAN KHAN: OCEAN AS THE ORIGINAL BRINE; ABRI DE SWARDT: BECAUSE THIS RIVER NO LONGER FORKS; ANÉZIA ASSE: MESOSAURUS, A MARINE FOSSIL IN THE JOBURG ARCHIVE
Saturday 26 October 2019
13.30 — 19.00
VENUE: POOL, ELLIS HOUSE, 23 VOORHOUT STREET, NEW DOORNFONTEIN, JOHANNESBURG
13.30 — 14.00 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION -- MIKA CONRADIE AND AMY WATSON: OUT OF THIS WORLD, I CANNOT FALL
14.00 — 16.00 ZAYAAN KHAN, WORKSHOP: THINKING THE SEA AS PRACTICE
16.00 — 19.00 PREVIEW OF BIANCA BALDI'S VIDEO INSTALLATION ‘PLAY-WHITE’ (2019)
HOLDING WATER with POOL
25 October - 26 November 2019
A programme of workshops, reading groups, film screenings and artist presentations that think the oceanic from land-locked Johannesburg, commissioned by POOL and the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South, WiSER and further supported by Business and Arts South Africa.
How to think the ocean from this dry city, and how to think the city oceanically?
The Oceanic Humanities for the Global South WiSER and Johannesburg arts organisation POOL are collaborating on a research and exhibition project focused on the politics and poetics of oceanic flows, from the perspective of land-locked Johannesburg. POOL’s ongoing ‘Ocean Thinking’ project postulates that a large part of the political, social and economic reality of the post-colonial global South has been and continues to be produced in and through its relationship to the ocean. Oceanic Humanities aims to decolonize histories of oceanic space while providing new approaches to literary and aesthetic understandings of water. Their collaboration draws together academic, literary and cultural studies with practice-based research
ARCHIVES OF AFRO-ASIA: EXCAVATING THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF THE EARLY DECOLONISATION ERA with THE CENTRE FOR INDIAN STUDIES IN AFRICA 30.9.2019
Oceanic Humanities for the Global South supported the hosting of the conference Archives of Afro-Asia. Our research team member, Pindhi Mnyaka presented "The 'Orient' in East London: revisiting the obscure case of an 'exotic Indian tiger' on the beach in segregation-era South Africa".
THE 15TH ANNUAL LITERATURE AND ECOLOGY COLLOQUIUM AMAZWI SOUTH AFRICAN MUSEUM OF LITERATURE 25.9.2019
Six of the Oceanic Humanities team attended the annual Literature and Ecology Colloquium, formerly hosted by Rhodes University and newly by the Amazwi National English Literature Museum. Anezia Asse presented a paper on the Island of Mozambique and how narratives of marine archaeology intersect with a novel by Mia Couto about a one-legged mermaid. Linked to this, Mapule Mohulatsi presented a paper on representations of black mermaids in South African art and culture. Zoe Neocosmos presented a paper on Yvette Christiansë’s poetry and its representation of human and inhuman life in relation to slavery and rememory, while Ryan Poinasamy dealt with imagining abalone life undersea. Charne Lavery presented on the conundrum of Africa’s relationship to Antarctica, and Jonathan Cane discussed penguins and architecture in a paper called ‘Penguins of the Global South Unite!’. Oupa Sibeko closed off the conference with a video rendering of his performance called ‘The Inland Sea’.
PERFORMANCE: BLACK IS BLUE OUPA SIBEKO 22.8.2019
Oupa Sibeko, artist and Oceanic Humanities for the Global South MA fellow will be performing 'Black is Blue' at the Point of Order, Corner Bertha & Stiemens Streets Johannesburg on 23 and 24 August 2019, at 18.30.
ANTARCTIC REFLECTIONS ISABEL HOFMEYR AND CHARNE LAVERY 15.5.2019
Isabel Hofmeyr and Charne Lavery recently undertook a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula and attended a conference in Ushuaia, Argentina, on the Antarctic Humanities and Social Sciences. They'll talk about some of the things they saw, learned and were baffled by in the deepest South, alongside a summary of the papers they presented on the past and future of South African and African involvement in Antarctica. It will be an easy evening of images, travelogue and talk.
ILHA DE MOÇAMBIQUE: THINKING OCEANICALLY / PENSANDO A PARTIR DO OCEANO OCEANIC HUMANITIES FOR THE GLOBAL SOUTH WORKSHOP 11.6.2019
This workshop aims to centre our thinking on Ilha de Moçambique while setting broader questions of the global and oceanic South in circulation. We are interested in comparative conversations between different islands and oceans, between the sea and the land, between material culture and new materialisms. Ilha de Moçambique is characterised by a rich submarine heritage, surrounded by submerged shipwrecks that speak to lesser-known histories of East African slavery, and characterised by unique submarine ecologies. How do we understand this place differently in relation to new ways of thinking oceanically across the South, and how can we convene a globally-oriented set of questions around a rich engagement with the local? How does thinking in and with Ilha speak to our own research on other oceans and their islands? How can we submerge our thinking about trade routes, slavery, heritage, food, literature, music, history and architecture?
OF SNAKES AND MERMAIDS: THE REPRESENTATION OF WATER SPIRITS IN SOUTHERN AFRICAN LITERATURE CONFIDENCE JOSEPH 18.2.2019
The study seeks to interrogate the representations of water spirits in Southern African cultural texts (novels, poems, short stories, songs and TV shows). For a long time, stories told about the African and Africa have been about the nation, claiming of land both legally and illegally, projects of reclaiming humanity and dignity. What happens when we decenter the land in all these narratives and allow for a turn towards watery spaces? By virtue of being free from national borders, water and these water spirits open up new ways of reading and understanding narratives about Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa). Drawing on the unboundedness, elusiveness and slippery nature of water spirits and the theme of the unknown, the invisible, the feared and the unfamiliar which has been linked to water bodies, I wonder if one can start thinking differently about notions of belonging, time, space, environment and politics? Do the water gods make us re-imagine gender in any way? To help explore these themes, I draw on three bodies of work, African water mythologies, Posthuman Ecocriticism and works on Enchanted Modernities.
Solomon Mahlangu House
East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand
BUYING TIME: DEBT AND MOBILITY IN THE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN THOMAS F. McDOW 18.10.2018
13.15 - 14.00
In Buying Time, Thomas F. McDow synthesizes Indian Ocean, Middle Eastern, and East African studies as well as economic and social history to explain how, in the nineteenth century, credit, mobility, and kinship knit together a vast interconnected Indian Ocean region. That vibrant and enormously influential swath extended from the desert fringes of Arabia to Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast and on to the Congo River watershed.
Humanities Graduate Centre
East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand
WORDS ON WATER: SOUTHERN AFRICAN LITERATURES AND THE OCEANS YVETTE CHRISTIANSË, SARAH NUTTALL, CHARNE LAVERY, ISABEL HOFMEYR 13.9.2018
This event was part of WATERSHED: Art, Science and Elemental Politics, a programme of exhibitions and scholarly panels to provoke new thinking about water. WATERSHED enmeshes the Arts and Science and takes place across venues at Wits and in Braam from 10 to 21 September 2018. It includes interactive art installations, engineering and scientific displays, and academic symposia across disciplines and faculties
AT THE END OF TIME: THINKING WITH WATER DILIP MENON 28.8.2018
This talk addresses the question of what it means to think fluvially, even as we are faced with the prospect of not fire, but water, the next time. How does water affect thinking when one lives by the sea? Or does it? Or is it taken for granted, as in Borges’s remark that there are no camels in the Koran? My current project on writing history in colonial India engages with the question of water, oceans and floods as central to the imagination of history and region.
MEETING OF INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS OF THE OCEANIC HUMANITIES PROJECT 18.10.2018
Our first annual workshop for members, associates and students took place on 8-9 November, on the 11th floor of the Blue Waters hotel with a view of the Indian Ocean. We found ourselves thinking between the metaphoric and the material in presentations on barnacles, harbour walls, plankton, currents, sea wolves, and in conversations informed by glimpses of the submarine in the local aquarium. These presentations will appear on the website in due course, and Stephanie Jones and Charne Lavery will be editing a special issue of Wasafiri on 'Water,' in which some more developed versions will feature.
LITERARY ECOLOGIES OF THE INDIAN OCEAN WORLD: MAURITIAN AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN INTERSECTIONS WORKSHOP 15.8.2018
This workshop seeks to structure an inter-regional conversation between Mauritian and southern African oceanic literary traditions. Working within a framework of literary ecologies, the workshop aims to examine historical, aesthetic and environmental themes from a global south perspective. The focus on southern Africa and Mauritius highlights two historically inter-related regions within the Indian Ocean world but which are seldom brought into conversation.
The project draws on recent work from oceanic literary scholars that pioneers a post-human perspective, utilizing ideas like amphibious aesthetics; littoral form; monsoon assemblages; heavy waters; hydropoetics; underwater aesthetics; trans-corporeality; and sea ontologies, all concepts that push us closer to a material engagement with water.
Caribbean debates on oceanic ecologies will provide a comparative reference point while themes of media map-making in the contemporary Indian Ocean will be important.
YVETTE CHRISTIANSË READINGS 12.8.2018
Yvette Christiansë, Ann Whitney Olin Chair, is a Professor of Africana Studies and English and Chair of Africana Studies at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York. She is an award-winning poet, novelist, librettist and scholar with interests in the poetry and prose of African diaspora in former English colonies. She is the author of Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics. For some twenty-seven years, she has been researching the stall in the abolition of slavery in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
SIMONE HAYSOM 1.8.2018
The Indian Ocean seaboard plays a key role in the world's third largest heroin route out of Afghanistan – yet until recently its mechanics and geography were poorly understood. Drawing on the Global Initiative against Transnational Crime's 'Heroin Coast' report, this talk provides an analysis of the how the trade has become embedded in political systems along the Indian Ocean coast, arguing that the 'governance' of the heroin trade mirrors the governance system of the country where it operates, and that the control of the trade both shapes and is shaped by local political dynamics. This argument draws on a trend we observe, across the continent, where sharp escalations in the prevalence of organised crime correlate to economic liberalisation and moves to multiparty democracy. In other words, organised crime thrives in democracies and is facilitated by economic growth. The talk also covers attempts to understand the 'impact' of illicit trade, including the public health impact of the drug trade (and the merits, or lack thereof, in the public health responses along the coast); the linkages between murder rates and the drug trade; and the other pressures that organised crime and corruption places on civil society.
DUNCAN M. YOON 24.7.2018
China’s emergence as a major player on the African continent has produced a fundamental shift in patterns of 21st century globalization. Predictably, almost all scholarship focuses on economic or social scientific factors, interrogating whether the Chinese presence is a ‘new colonialism’. In contrast, this article examines how Congo Inc., In Koli Jean Bofane's 2014 novel, represents Africa-China relations through its hustling entrepreneurs, the half-Pygmy Isookanga and the Chinese national Zhang Xia. I argue Bofane turns the postcolonial African novel away from a ‘writing back’ to the West. Congo Inc. thereby signals a shift in the type of postcolonial narrative toward the global south novel and offers a new direction in Africa-China studies.
ENTERING THE WAVES... RIMLI BHATTACHARYA 3.7.2018
Rimli Bhattacharya, an Oceanic Humanities international partner from the University of Delhi, joined us at WiSER for the first of her team visits. She presented a talk and conducted a workshop based on a set of images, clips and resources curated specifically for the OHGS students. These included oceanic cultural material from India, particularly the Bay of Bengal. She focused on the visual art of Lavanya Mani, and films by Ritwik Ghatak (A River Called Titash,1973) and Kumar Shahani (Bhavantarana, 1991 and Bamboo Flute, 2000). The following are glimpses – or 'jhanki' – of her presentation:
‘Traveller’s Tales’: Lavanya Mani (artist) + Muziris (ancient port and heritage site) southern coast Arabian Sea
Myth archetype and history: Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay (novelist) + Advaita Mallar Burman (novelist) + Ritwik Ghatak (film maker)
Bangladesh, eastern delta: Bay of Bengal
Eros labour and musicality: Kumar Shahani (film maker) + Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (dancer) + Hariprasad Chaurasia (flautist)
eastern coastline Madras and Odissa: Bay of Bengal
CHARNE LAVERY & MEG SAMUELSON 27.5.2018
This paper proposes the oceanic south to navigate various conceptions of southness, while registering a more turbulent alterity and materiality than they sometimes admit. We present the southern hemisphere’s blue expanses as its defining feature, and elaborate from this a framework that brings into agitated contention the extractive economies of the north, the persistent legacies of settler colonialism in the south, and other interlocking itineraries. Tracking a drift into the Southern Ocean in the fiction of J. M. Coetzee, we take this 'most neglected of oceans' as a vantage point from which to draw the contours of the oceanic south and engage its troubled surfaces and lively depths. Thinking through the roiling and hostile yet fecund nature of this ocean, we follow 'the lives of whales' as they sound through various fictions of the south and conclude with the figure of an unsettling planetarity that makes no claim to universality.
ISABEL HOFMEYR 6.5.2018
This paper draws together debates on object-oriented ontology and ongoing work on the Customs House in various southern African port cities. Customs and Excise may seem an obscure and boring institution, best left alone. However, in this post-humanist object-oriented age, the question of how objects are governed has become of more than passing interest. Customs and Excise and their procedures can hence illuminate contemporary themes of recalibrating the human and non-human. The first part of the paper describes how officials in the Custom House went about their business. The second relates this material to debates on object-oriented ontology, while drawing out the literary implications of this material, particularly as regards theories of reading.
ANANYA KABIR 14.3.2018
This talk extends existing perspectives on the Black Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and creolization, by using creolized couple dances as index and evidence. These dances that arose from the encounter between European and African cultures under the sign of creolization are usually associated with the formation of colonial societies and postcolonial nations in the circum-(Black)-Atlantic region.
WiSER WORKSHOP 17.8.2017
This workshop draws together a musician, a musicologist, an engineer and a social scientist for an experimental dialogue. Focusing on both aesthetics and physics, the workshop explores ways to think with and through water in radically interdisciplinary ways.
1 / 1