2. Transforming Ivory Towers to Ebony Towers

The Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) in South Africa held a two-day conference on “Transforming Ivory Towers to Ebony Towers: Lessons for South Africa’s Curriculum Transformation in The Humanities from Africa and African-American Studies” at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Arts Centre on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 August 2018. 220 people attended the conference over the two days. About 25 South African, African, and African-American scholars presented papers on four broad themes: The Challenges of Transforming the South African Higher Education Sector; Key Issues in Transforming South Africa’s Higher Education Sector; Lessons from Africa; and Lessons From African-American Studies.

The conference, which is part of a Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded two-year (2018- 2020) project, sought to draw on lessons from six African countries – Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana – as well as the establishment of African-American Studies in the United States (US), in an effort to contribute to scholarship and policies on transforming South Africa’s curriculum in the field of humanities. A 25-chapter edited book, a five-page policy brief, and newspaper articles will be produced after the meeting, and widely disseminated across South Africa, Africa, and the US. After publication of the book, public dialogues will be held at six universities across South Africa to disseminate the key findings of the conference to relevant stakeholders within and outside the academe.

The project is explicitly inter-disciplinary on the premise that transformation debates and processes are simply too important to be left to educationists, and must have buy-in across disciplines in the humanities from subjects such as political science, history, economics, sociology, and literature if they are to be embedded in South Africa’s curricula.

Event Type


University of Johannesburg, Arts Centre


Saturday 18 to Sunday 19 August 2018

Event Gallery