‘Apartheid Cyborg’: Agaat, Adoption, Technics & Time

Wednesday, 14 August, 2013 - 13:00

WiSER invites you to a seminar by

Andrew van der Vlies (School of English & Drama, Queen Mary, University of London)

“’Apartheid Cyborg’: Agaat, Adoption, Technics & Time”

WISER Seminar Room, 
6th Floor, Richard Ward Building,
East Campus, Wits University

In this paper, I consider how Marlene van Niekerk’s 2004 novel Agaat (English translation by Michiel Heyns published in 2006) animates the experience of epistemic shifts in political dispensations at the same time that it both examines and is the subject of adoption. How is adoption, understood metaphorically, at issue in the novel’s examination of ideas of language, memory, heritage, and temporality, and with what implications for thinking about the work of fiction in contemporary South Africa?

Andrew van der Vlies is a graduate of Rhodes University (where he is a Research Associate) and the University of Oxford. Andrew has published widely on South African authors, print cultures, queer activism in art, and the idea of the archive. His first book, South African Textual Cultures (Manchester UP, 2007 & Wits UP, 2011), considered the construction of the idea of an anglophone ‘South African’ literature through a series of case studies of the publication and reception histories of authors from Olive Schreiner to Zakes Mda. Laura Chrisman called it ‘a pathbreaking book’, ‘interdisciplinary research [that] establishes van der Vlies as a first rate literary critic, historian and cultural sociologist’. He has published a reader's guide to Coetzee's Disgrace (Continuum, 2010), contributed to volumes including The Cambridge History of South African Literature and The Oxford Companion to the Book, and is editor of the collection Print, Text & Book Cultures in South Africa (WIts UP, 2012) as well as of the journal Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies (with Rita Barnard).