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South Africa

This program allows students to study the history and literary output of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa in two of its largest urban areas – Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is designed to give students an interdisciplinary background on the literature, history, and culture of South Africa. Being in the country provides students with the opportunity for experiential learning, and allows them to study the effects of legal and systemic segregation and oppression, as well as analyze how post-apartheid South Africa memorializes and narrates this history.
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Course Description

The course will focus on the phenomenon of apartheid in South Africa. We will briefly cover the pre-colonial and colonial histories of South Africa, and the origins of the apartheid system, and then focus mostly on the rise and effects of apartheid, ending the course with an examination of what post-apartheid South Africa looks like. This course is interdisciplinary, and over these three weeks, you will read both historical accounts and arguments regarding apartheid in South Africa as well as short stories and novels written during this period. Some questions we will consider are: What is the relationship between historical accounts and literature? Who has the authority to narrate history, and what differences do we see in literary and historical accounts? What narratives do the museums and memorials in South Africa privilege? Which ones do they silence?

One example of experiential learning, in visiting the District Six Museum and doing a walking tour with a former resident of District Six, students will hear first-hand accounts of how over 60,000 people were forcibly removed from the area between 1966 and 1982, and see the changed cityscape of the area. Similarly, a township tour will allow students to witness the enduring economic and social effects of apartheid, even though apartheid policies ended over 20 years ago.

The primary goals of this course are to provide students with a solid academic background for understanding, talking about, and writing about South Africa. In doing the course as a study abroad tour, we also aim to help raise the student’s awareness of the complexity of the world, while exposing them to a society that is different from their own, and which is connected to larger concerns of international history and politics.

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Program Information

Courses: HIS 387/LIT 370/HON 270: The History and Literature of Apartheid in South Africa

Liberal Learning: HIS 387: Social Change and Historical Perspectives and Global; LIT 370: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts

Note: Approval has been sought to cross-list the class with African-American Studies to allow students to pursue Race and Ethnicity.

Dates: January 1- 19, 2018

Program Directors: Dr. Matthew Bender, Associate Professor of History and Director, International Studies Program and Dr. Mindi McMann, Assistant Professor of English

Eligibility: No prerequisites, language requirements, or GPA restrictions; open to all students in good academic standing

Winter 2018 Program Fee: $5,520.00View Budget Sheet.

Academic Requirement Options

  • LIT Majors may use LIT 370 as an elective requirement, a 300 or 400 level course requirement (English majors), or as a world literature requirement (English Secondary Education majors).
  • HIS majors may use the course to satisfy a geographic breadth requirement.
  • INT majors and minors may use the course to satisfy a history requirement (for INT students specializing in diplomacy or international trade) or as a course requirement for the African Studies minor.


Please contact the TCNJ Center for Global Engagement at, 609-771-2596.

For course specific questions, please contact Dr. Mindi McMann at or Dr. Matthew Bender at

Please review our refund, cancellation, and withdrawal policy statement should a student not be able to participate in the program.