Faculty of Humanities holds 2015 Conference

November 13, 2015   Chanco Bulletin
Keynote speaker
From 10 to 11 November, 2015, the Faculty of Humanities held its international conference, with the theme of “Rethinking the Humanities in the 21st Century”. Participants at the conference made their presentations at the Great Hall and in the Little Theatre.

During the opening ceremony of the conference, the Keynote Speaker, Professor Mpalive Hangson Msiska, emphasized the need for scholars in the Humanities to ‘semiotize’ or ‘signify’ themselves, so that their work decolonizes or dethrones ideas that have become dominant in society. He also insisted that the Humanities have to negotiate the local and the global in transforming various subjectivities and contexts. He bemoaned the view that upholds the Humanities as the polar opposite of the Sciences, and instead insisted that as a way of rethinking the academic field within Africa, scholars in the Humanities need to ensure that their disciplines constitute a partial local epidemic formation, so that the end result is a hybrid, and not merely a copying of the Humanities practiced in the West. 

In agreement with the keynote speaker, the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Kalenga Saka, spoke of a time when Humanities students could study subjects in the sciences, and vice versa, a time when there was no antagonism between the two fields. 

Many of the presentations took up the call for rethinking the humanities. For instance, Professor Peter Wasamba of University of Nairobi argued that scholars in the Humanities should resist the temptation to be fiercely territorial, and must instead embrace an interdisciplinary position, which is the trend in most universities today. He cited the example of the Medical Humanities, which is a way in which the field of medicine has realized the value of approaches in the Humanities. 

Apart from scholars from Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences at Chancellor College, the conference attracted participants from a number of countries within the continent, including South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, and Mozambique. From Malawi, the conference also included presenters from Mzuzu University and University of Livingstonia. Presentations made at the conference touched on a variety of topics, with the presenters illustrating the relevance of the Humanities to the modern world. Some of these issues touched on nationally and internationally topical matters such as Cashgate, climate change, HIV/AIDS, cinema, and hip-hop culture.

The Faculty of Humanities at Chancellor College comprises the departments of English, African Languages and Linguistics, Philosophy, Classics, Language and Communications Studies, French, Theology and Religious Studies, and Fine and Performing Arts. It also houses the Center for Language Studies and is affiliated with Chanco Radio. 

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