Umthombo 2 - Page 27



SPOTLIGHT | AFRICAN CITIES
A new cohort of
African urban scholars
PHOTOGRAPHS: THIS PAGE: SUPPLIED. OPPOSITE PAGE: SAM REINDERS
This year marks the first intake of students in the ACC’s master’s degree in
Southern Urbanism. The course will not only provide students with a grounding
in the realities, theories and practice of cities of the global south, it also aims
to create a new generation of African urban scholars.
B
etween now and 2060, 86%
of growth in the world’s urban
population will take place in
cities in Africa and Asia. This
migration of people will bring with it a
host of new environmental, economic
and social challenges.
“If these challenges are to be
understood, we require a new
generation of urban scholars with a
thorough understanding of the realities
of theory and practice in cities of the
global south.
“The MPhil in Southern Urbanism
hopes to help create this new cohort of
scholars,” explains Dr António Tomás
who designed the two-year course

We see this moment as an unprecedented opportunity
to question what we mean by urban scholarship and rigour, and
to fashion alternative ways of being researchers and teachers.
alongside Professor Edgar Pieterse
and Professor Sophie Oldfield.
Speaking at the launch of the
programme, Pieterse said “We see
this moment as an unprecedented
opportunity to question what we mean
by urban scholarship and rigour, and
to fashion alternative ways of being
researchers and teachers.
“This exploratory project demands a
conscious effort to grow an ambitious
cohort of black urbanists willing to
equip themselves to build a new kind
of urban studies, rooted in the realities
and desires of the global south.”
The degree combines a foundation
in urban theory with an experimental
approach to research. In the first
year, it is compulsory for students to
participate in a City Research Studio.
“This is a laboratory space in which
students will learn to walk, see, smell,
touch, embrace, explore and reimagine
the city through intimate engagements
mediated by diverse research
techniques,” explains Oldfield.
The MPhil has a relationship with
the University of Basel’s master’s in
Critical Urbanisms. As part of the Basel
degree, students spend a semester
in Cape Town alongside their UCT
counterparts. Oldfield, who holds the
University of Cape Town–University of
Basel Professorship in Urban Studies,
teaches on both programmes.
“Harnessing the ACC’s 10 years
of experience in urban studies, it is
our hope that this course not only
produces skilled researchers capable of
compelling doctoral research but that
in time this course will contribute to
the creation of a truly southern-based
perspective on the issues that face
cities in the global south,” she says.
u mth om bo
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