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SIT Study Abroad South Africa: Politics of Race, Racism & Social Justice (January Term)
Cape Town, South Africa (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms:  
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Program Sponsor: SIT/World Learning 
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Fact Sheet:
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Minimum GPA: 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Experiential Learning: ITR Field Study, URI Affiliated Program
Program Description:
Program Description:
SIT Study Abroad South Africa: Politics of Race, Racism, & Social Justice

Explore South Africa’s constructions of race, racist policies through history, and their ongoing legacy in everyday life, and historic and modern movements for social justice.

This course explores the politics of race and racism in the South African context by engaging with the theoretical and historical constructions of race during colonialism and apartheid and the ongoing impact on contemporary social life. Using the intersections of class and gender, space, culture, ethnicity, and language, the course seeks to expand on how these have been politicized and mobilized to ensure white supremacy and black oppression, as well as frame the resistance to these systems in the past, and present–day contestations. The course foregrounds academic literature, documentaries, films, local experts, and contemporary opinion pieces to trace the past in the present in a rich, complex, multi-layered, and reflective engagement. Students will draw on these resources to make sense of homestays in Langa, the first Black township built in South Africa, and Bo-Kaap, a Malay enclave in the city, home to people classified ‘coloured’ under apartheid. Excursions to sites of history, memory, and mean–making, such as the Robben Island Museum, Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, and into different racialized spaces in the city will be complemented with introductory sessions in Xhosa and Afrikaap(n)s, and an opportunity to explore subjects and sites of choice for a final project.

Program Highlights
  • Study race, racial construction, and mobilization tracing the history and contemporary impacts in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town
  • Supplement academic material with in-country experts available to answer questions and assist in making sense of material
  • Examine the courses thematic issues through on-site, experiential learning
  • Participate in excursions and homestays with isiXhosa speaking black families in Langa and Afrikaap(n)s speaking coloured families in Bo-Kaap.



Program Structure

This January-term program will run from December 28, 2020-January 16, 2021. Participants will earn three credits.

In Cape Town, South Africa, students will have an opportunity to experience first-hand the contemporary impact of the history of race, and the politics of racism, on everyday social life. Excursions will emphasize the politics of memorialization of violent and racist histories, the spatial dimensions of ongoing segregation, and contemporary experiences and contestations around race and its intersections with space, class, memory, politics, opportunity, language, and culture in Cape Town. Workweeks will consist of a combination of lectures, documentaries, films, academic articles, and assignments. The material will cover early colonizer contact and the raced and spaced dimensions of racial engagement and policies, land dispossession and violence, the imposition of colonial segregationist policies, and their formalization into apartheid legislated policy designed to ensure the continuous supply of cheap black labor for white capital extractive economic activities.

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Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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