Conference on Modernism and Modernities, 2 April 2012
On 2 April 2012, The Afrikaans Department at UP hosted a successful conference, “Patryspoort na buite”, on modernism and modernities. The conference forms part of a research project on “southern” modernities that was launched in the Faculty of Humanities at UP in 2012. The name of the conference, “Patryspoort na buite” (Porthole to the outside world), makes reference to the portholes that appear on the University crest. In 2010, the late Prof Heinrich Grebe was in charge of the previous “Patryspoort” conference, and in 2012 Prof Andries Visagie who took responsibility for the organisation of the event.
Prof Willie Burger, head of the Afrikaans Department, presented the first paper of the day on Ingrid Winterbach’s novel Die benederyk. His paper was followed by a presentation by Prof Thys Human on the same novel by Winterbach. Participants from other universities and institutions included Dr Franci Vosloo from the University of Stellenbosch and Ms Martjie Bosman from Protea Books.
The papers by Prof Russ West-Pavlov (English Department, UP) and Mr Mark Kourie (Department of Philosophy, UP) explored interesting aspects of modernity that go beyond the confines of Afrikaans and Dutch literature. Graduate students in the Afrikaans Department, Shaun de Jager, Neil van Heerden and Dawita van der Walt (in collaboration with Prof Andries Visagie), also made valuable contributions to the proceedings when they presented papers on the work of, respectively, Etienne van Heerden, N.P. van Wyk Louw and D.J. Opperman.
The conference posed some compelling questions on modernism and modernity in the global South. Meanwhile, the project on “southern” modernisms and modernities continues within the Faculty and members of the Afrikaans Department are firmly part of the ongoing developments.