Fall 2013 

Dear Colleague, 

Thanks very much for your interest in our National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute, South Africa:  Continuity and Change.  I知 Rich Corby, the director, and in this letter I want to acquaint you with the many exciting aspects of our institute. 

The institute faculty is certain that twenty-five teachers in June of 2013 will embark on an intellectual adventure of discovery, learning, and field study in South Africa which has the potential to transform your classroom activities when you teach about Africa.   We will be affiliated with Rhodes University in Grahamstown.  Professors at the university will deliver lectures to us and we値l also attend a variety of events at the National Arts Festival, the largest on the continent.  We値l also receive lectures from faculty members of the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, where we値l spend nine days.  During this time we値l also visit historical and cultural sites in and around Cape Town.  For two weeks we値l conduct a field study throughout the country, interacting with South Africans and visiting cities, savannas, mountains, lowlands, and coast.  

Perhaps a very old quotation is apropos here: 

的 could have only studied about Egypt, and learned.  I could have only traveled in Egypt, and learned.  As I both studied and traveled in Egypt, I learned and understood.

蓬erodotus, Fifth Century BCE Greece 

As did Herodotus in the far northeast of the continent 2,500 years ago, in the summer of 2013 participants will both study and travel in the most southern part of Africa.  Similar programs that Kay Grant and I of the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) have conducted in various countries on the continent, including six in South Africa in the last ten years, were quite literally a life-changing experience for many participants.   

The bustling Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Mall in Cape Town.
The bustling Victoria and
Alfred Waterfront Mall in Cape Town.


The institute, to be conducted in South Africa, will run from June 20 to July 28, 2013.  These are the target dates.  It痴 possible that our flight schedule to Cape Town and back to the U.S. may be a day before or after each of these dates.


The institute faculty designed the project for twenty-five participants who teach or supervise in grades 5-12 in the following subjects:  (1) social studies, including world history, American history, global studies, world geography, and related subjects; (2) English; and (3) other subjects in the humanities


Each participant will receive a stipend of $3,900.  This stipend is for:  (1) airfare; (2) books for the institute; and (3) meals and lodging for the five weeks.  Some teachers will also have to get passports.  (Fortunately, Americans don稚 need visas to enter South Africa.)

The biggest variable in the teachers expenses will be the plane ticket from their home airports to Cape Town and back.  In April 2013 after each teacher has made a plane reservation and has sent a copy of the itinerary to me, UAM will send to each one a check, taken from the stipend, for this amount. 

After we have accepted twenty-five participants into the program, we will use money from the stipends to pay deposits to hotels in South Africa.  Taking care of this item as a group also saves the participants from investing a lot of time and effort in doing this themselves. 

As the NEH states in the Application Information and Instructions, 鄭pplicants to all projects, especially those held abroad, should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.  This warning will likely be applicable to our institute.  In today痴 world economy it痴 quite difficult to estimate what a participant痴 total expenses will be.  The decreasing value of the U.S. dollar against the South African rand, ever increasing plane ticket prices, and higher costs in South Africa all contribute to this difficulty.  I estimate, and it痴 just that, an estimation, that participants will have to spend approximately $500-$600 from their personal funds during the five weeks.  Even so, I hope that everyone will agree with me that this opportunity to study and travel for five weeks in South Africa which the NEH is providing is still an extraordinary one.

The project grant, not participants stipends, pays for the transportation costs within South Africa and for admissions to museums, parks, tours of three townships, and a visit to Robben Island in Cape Town harbor where Nelson Mandela spent almost 27 years in prison.  Participants main expenses in South Africa will be for meals and items they buy for classroom and for personal use.

Concerning meals, in almost all of our hotels breakfast will be included in the room rates.  Teachers should allot from $15-$20 per day for lunch and dinner, not including drinks.  You could easily spend less than $15 if your food requirements are not too demanding and, of course, it痴 quite possible to spend considerably more than $20 at some restaurants. 

The beautiful wine-producing area around Stellenbosch.
The beautiful wine-producing area around Stellenbosch.


Africa is a vast continent of over 50 countries and more than 900 million people.  We have therefore selected South Africa for our study, which will permit us to concentrate on a single country and its people.  The remarkably rich and complex history and culture of South Africa will become the subject for a multidisciplinary study.  Many themes in South African history are also found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. 

Here is an overview of the project.

Participants will fly from their home airports to Cape Town.  There are several types of transportation from the airport to our hotel in the central part of the city. 

There will be one day of orientation in Cape Town and then two days in Arniston before going on to Grahamstown.  The goals of the orientation program are:  (1) to examine such practical matters as South African customs, manners, and acceptable behavior; (2) to discuss curriculum development; and (3) to create as quickly as possible a sense of camaraderie, the feeling that 努e池e all in this together.

About three-fourths of the academic component of the institute will take place in Grahamstown where we will be affiliated with Rhodes University.  Its website is:  www.ru.ac.za.  After field work throughout the country the last part of the academic study will occur in Cape Town with most of the lecturers coming from the faculty of the University of the Western Cape.  The principal objective of the academic study will be to provide the best current scholarship to enable the participants to acquire a sound knowledge of the major themes and their interpretations in the history of South Africa.  

The imposing campus of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
The beautiful campus of Rhodes University in Grahamstown

The lectures for the institute will be organized around these four seminar topics.

Seminar 1: Geography and History 

South Africa contains vast geographical diversity ranging from the subtropical southeast coast, to the savanna, or karoo, in the central region, to the Drakensburg Mountains in the east, to the semiarid and arid regions of the northwest, to the Mediterranean climate of Cape Town in the far south.  South African history encompasses the fascinating story of the accomplishments and interaction among the country痴 rich, complex, and varied mix of people: the Khoisan, the first people into this region; the Bantu language  speakers帽hosa, Zulu, Tswana, Sotho, and others--who today comprise the majority of the population; European settlers, mainly Dutch and British, who alone on the continent gained control of the government in the early years of the 20th century; the Colored/Mixed Race people, centered in Cape Town and the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces; and the Asians, mainly from India, who are concentrated in Durban and KwaZulu Natal province.  From 1948 to 1994 the story features the struggle of the African National Congress and most South Africans to end the racist rule of the apartheid government instituted by European-descended South Africans.  These efforts resulted in the election of 1994 which brought an end to apartheid and carried Nelson Mandela and democratic government to power.  Although much has changed since the mid-1990s, millions of South Africans still live and work in conditions similar to those during apartheid. 

Seminar 2:  Culture and Society

There will be lectures on South African literature and music.  Participants will also study health issues and urbanization, two vital aspects of change all over Africa.  Visits to two  of the most vibrant cities on the continent, Cape Town and Johannesburg, will enable us to explore all aspects of this complex mix of peoples and cultures.  Participants will discover how apartheid influenced culture and society and how its pernicious influences still extend into the post-apartheid period. 

In his shop in Khayelitsha, Golden proudly displays his artistic work.
In his shop in Khayelitsha, Golden proudly displays his artistic work.

Seminar 3: Religion and Education

This study centers on African and Western systems of education.  The study of education will feature visits to schools where the NEH Institute Scholars can interact with South African teachers and students.  African religion still permeates many areas of life in South Africa and Africa as a whole, and aspects of it have entered into the practice of Christianity and Islam throughout the continent. 

Seminar 4: Economy and Government 

Topics here include economic development under apartheid which benefitted mainly the English紡nd Afrikaans-speakers, the struggle of the African National Congress to achieve equal economic opportunity, the many changes after the election of 1994, and the myriad problems left from the apartheid decades which still remain to be solved.  Participants will get the opportunity to analyze economic and political changes since the demise of apartheid in order to evaluate the extent to which Africans have benefitted or still live in conditions virtually as hopeless as under apartheid.  Also studied will be South Africa痴 role on the African continent and in the world at large. 

There will be four lectures in each seminar.

African penguins frolicking on the beach at Boulders, near Simon's Town. 

During our days in Grahamstown the NEH Institute Scholars will attend numerous activities and performances of the National Arts Festival.  During this time we will also drive the short distance to Port Elizabeth to tour New Brighton Township, the birthplace of the armed wing of the African National Congress and the home of such prominent figures in the ANC as Govan Mbeki.  In New Brighton we値l visit the Red Location Museum which features a room dedicated to the unsung heroes of apartheid, ordinary people痴 poignant stories of the part they played in the struggle. 

After the lectures at Rhodes University comes the field study to places of historical and cultural interest throughout the country.

When we travel we will visit most of South Africa痴 provinces.  To the southeast is the subtropical Indian Ocean coast of KwaZulu Natal province with its rolling hills, many of them dotted with sugar cane and banana plantations.  To the north we will travel to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park which conservationists world-wide acclaim as an outstanding example of responsible ecological management.  Johannesburg contains an eclectic population comprised of representatives of all of South Africa痴 population groups.  Just outside the city is Soweto Township, the nerve center of the struggle against apartheid.  Here on the same street are the houses of Nelson Mandela (now a museum) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  The new museum of apartheid is a highlight of a visit to the city.  Then it痴 on to Kimberley, a center of the diamond industry.  The outdoor museum there permits visitors to go through historic buildings, many dating to Cecil Rhodes and the earliest days of diamond mining in the 1860s.  West of Kimberly the savanna, known locally as the Karoo, holds sway during the drive to Cape Town.

During our time in Cape Town we will go to places of historical and cultural interest in and near the city.  Highlights include: ferry ride to Robben Island in Cape Town harbor, where Nelson Mandela and political prisoners were held for decades; District Six Museum which celebrates a formerly bustling area of central Cape Town populated largely by Colored/Mixed Race people until the apartheid government removed these residents in the 1960s; Khayelitsha, Guguletu, and Langa townships where the apartheid government forced Africans and Colored/Mixed Race people to live; the South African National Art Gallery; the Cape of Good Hope; and Stellenbosch with its open-air museum of daily life and Franschhoek with its Huguenot Memorial and Museum in the wine country near Cape Town.

We will travel in a chartered bus.  Our hotels will run from modest to nice (but the emphasis will be on the former) and rooms will contain a bathroom with sink, shower or bathtub, and toilet.  There will be two teachers to a room during the nights of our field study throughout the country.  In Cape Town, however, we will stay at a hotel whose rates make it possible for each teacher to have his/her own room.  At Rhodes University in Grahamstown where we値l be staying for eight days for lectures and events of the National Arts Festival, our accommodation will be in a residence hall on the Rhodes campus.  Each teacher will have a room by himself/herself and the bathroom will be down the hall.  In each room, however, there will be a sink, which does come in handy.

Living, studying, and traveling in any sub-Saharan African country require both intellectual and physical energy from participants.  As an example of the latter, teachers  must be able to do a great deal of walking, sometimes in very hilly places with no sidewalks.   Participants must also handle their own luggage during our travels.  And that痴 certainly an inducement to travel as light as possible, about which successful applicants will later hear a great deal more! 


The core faculty of the institute consists of three people.  I知 Rich Corby, the project director, a history professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM) where I teach world and African history.  My special interests include Western and Muslim education on the continent and fiction by African writers.  Publications concern aspects of Islam in West Africa.  I have taught and conducted research in West Africa for nine years altogether and have traveled widely in other parts of the continent.  I do understand both the opportunities and problems of teaching in grades 5-12 as I have taught social studies at these levels in both Sierra Leone as a Peace Corps volunteer and in central Illinois, where I grew up.  In the past twenty years I have directed a number of institutes for teachers on campus here at UAM, two funded by the NEH on Islam in West Africa.  This is the fourth NEH institute which I have directed in South Africa, the last being in the summer of 2012.  I have also been the leader of eight Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad programs, funded by the United States Department of Education, in which I led teachers on six-week curriculum development study/travel projects in various African countries.  The most recent such program was to South Africa in June and July of 2008. 

Kay and Rich trying to maintain their equilibrium on top of windswept Table Mountain.
Kay and Rich trying to maintain their equilibrium
on top of windswept Table Mountain.

Ms. Kay Grant taught a broad array of subjects in the humanities at Drew Central High School in Monticello, Arkansas before her recent retirement.  She now works as an education consultant.  For many years she introduced much African content into her social studies and English classes.  At institutes here at UAM and in other universities in Arkansas she has worked extensively in helping teachers to incorporate African material into their classes.  Ms. Grant has presented on African topics at conferences and workshops at schools and universities throughout Arkansas and twice at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies.  Kay is always a favorite with teachers as she is knowledgeable, friendly, and completely unflappable. 

Dr. Liesel Hibbert, our South African faculty member, is exceptionally qualified for her position.  She is a professor and head of the Department of Applied Language Studies at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.  Her specialty is sociolinguistics and she has conducted research and published on a number of topics including the idea of 都tandard English, using the South African parliament as a case study.  Pertinent to our project, Dr. Hibbert has had extensive experience in curriculum development, often working with teachers in townships around Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.  Most importantly, in the summers of 2002, 2005, and 2008 she served as the in-country faculty member for the Fulbright-Hays GPA six-week programs in South Africa which I led and as a faculty member in the 2006, 2009, and 2012 NEH institutes held in South Africa.  Liesel is well-organized, energetic, hardworking, and friendly.  Teachers will enjoy and learn from their association with her. 

Liesel demonstrates her musical ability at Babanango.
Liesel demonstrates her musical ability at Babanango.

Lecturers will come from Rhodes University in Grahamstown and from the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, suburban Cape Town.


Oral Requirements

For forty-five minutes after the last lecture of each seminar a committee of teachers from our group will summarize and analyze the important points of the four lectures and pertinent assigned readings.  After we select the 25 participants, we値l send information to them regarding the four seminars.  The teachers will indicate a first, second, and third choice of seminar committees and, based on their stated preferences, we will divide them into three committees of six teachers each and one committee of seven.

Reading Requirements  

Texts for the institute will be:  Paul Bohannan and Philip Curtin, Africa and Africans, 4th edition, 1995, a popular introduction to the continent and its people; Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa, 2002, reliable and well written by a foremost South African historian; Rita M. Byrnes, ed., South Africa:  A Country Study, 2001, which covers political, social, and economic aspects of South African society; Allister Sparks, Tomorrow Is Another Country, 1996, an engrossing account of the negotiations in the early 1990s which ended apartheid between President F.W. de Klerk and the National Party on one hand, and Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress on the other; and Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1995, a much acclaimed autobiography.

Two works of fiction are Alex La Guma, A Walk in the Night, 1968, insightful short stories set in District Six in Cape Town before its destruction during apartheid; and Nadine Gordimer, July痴 People, 1981, a novel featuring role reversal as July, who has worked for the Smales family in Johannesburg for a dozen years, must protect the Smales as they all take refuge in July痴 isolated village in a fictional South Africa that has been torn apart by revolution.

Thomas Krabacher, et. al., Global Studies:  Africa, 14th edition, 2012, is a reference book which contains a country-by-country survey of the entire continent, and articles on economic, political, and social matters in various African countries.

Finally, there are two very informative and practical guide books.  Buy one of these: Lonely Planet:  South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland, 2012 or Rough Guide to South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland, 2012.

As all of these books are in paperback, it will be possible for participants to take them to South Africa.  I recommend that teachers read these works in their entirety (either in the U.S. or South Africa) except for the two reference works, Global Studies:  Africa and the guide book, either Lonely Planet:  South Africa or Rough Guide to South Africa.

In addition, in the daily schedule I値l list appropriate readings for particular lectures.  Many of these readings will come from the works listed above and other selections will be from articles which I will send to participants in April.

Lodging in Tendele Camp in the Royal Natal National Park
with the Amphitheatre (mountain) in the background.

Writing Requirements

The writing portion of the institute consists of a personal and group journal.  The personal journal will prove invaluable as teachers record events, ideas, reactions, frustrations, and triumphs throughout the five weeks.  We will not ask to read teachers journals, but there will be a number of opportunities for participants to read selections from their journals if they choose to do so.  In addition to the personal journal, the participants will also keep a group journal. That is, each day a different person will write about the events and his/her impressions of that day in a collective journal.  After returning home, we will send a copy of the group journal to all participants.  The journals, then, will provide teachers with the opportunity simultaneously to look 妬nward and outward in a process of reflection, both objective and subjective.


Another project activity is to develop curriculum materials.  There will be institute sessions to help teachers to translate the academic content and field experience into meaningful learning experiences for students.  During the five weeks each participant will begin to develop lesson plans and materials based on the lectures, field experience, and collected materials.  Kay Grant will direct this component of the project.  She will be assisted by Dr. Hibbert and me when appropriate. 


Due to the nature of our program of study and travel, it will not be possible for a relative or friend of a participant to join the group at any time during our five weeks in South Africa. 

Nelson Mandela Museum in Umtata.
Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha


Over the years Kay and I have found that to be successful in studying and traveling in sub-Saharan Africa, there are several types of behavior and attitudes that are indispensable. 

1. Be adaptable.  If an event is scheduled to start at 8:00 but it doesn稚 actually

begin until 9:00, don稚 fret and fuss about it from 8:01 to 9:00 as this won稚 hasten the starting time a bit.  Proceedings may not occur at the appointed time, in the order you expect, or in the manner you anticipate, but be patient, and they will happen!  When we first arrive in South Africa, differences will command everyone痴 attention穆ights, food, smells, customs頬ust about everything.  If you work hard to adapt, before long you値l become accustomed to this new environment and will actually begin to appreciate, even enjoy, many of these differences.   

2. Be sensitive.  You should not compare what you see and experience in South Africa with the same situations and events in the U.S. (although a certain amount of this is inevitable).  If you try, over time you will begin to accept the customs and behavior of South Africans in terms of how these fit into life as South Africans strive to live it, and not worry about what Americans would likely do in similar circumstances.

3. Be tolerant.  Perhaps this characteristic applies almost as much to the way roommates relate with each other as it does with your interaction with South Africans themselves.  You値l learn much from the manner in which people in an African culture deal with their problems and live their lives 

4. Be considerate.  Remember, we池e guests in South Africa.  We池e not doing South Africans any big favor by visiting their country, although this is an attitude many Westerners, particularly Americans, have.  This is the perspective that痴 expressed in such statements as 展ell, why can稚 we do this!  Just think of all the money we池e spending here in this country.  We believe, however, that the truth lies in the reverse of this attitude--we Americans are going to be the recipients of many favors and kindnesses by South Africans. 

5. Be focused.  You must always remember that this is an NEH institute with high academic expectations, not primarily a touristy sightseeing and shopping trip.

Like children everywhere, these youngsters in Khayelitsha eagerly strike a pose.
Like children everywhere, these youngsters
in Khayelitsha eagerly strike a pose.


If potential applicants have managed to read this far, we池e sure that virtually all of you have concluded that everyone will work hard during our five weeks in South Africa.  And we will!  Even though the following remarks will apply to just a few potential applicants, Kay and I think it痴 necessary to include these admonitions, so here goes.

1. If you want to visit South Africa to engage in endless trips to big game parks while the South Africans themselves remain in the background practically invisible, as in the Hollywood films The African Queen and Out of Africa, for example, this is NOT the institute for you.

2.  If you want to visit South Africa to spend most of your time on the gorgeous beaches, this is NOT the institute for you.

3. If you want to visit South Africa and expect to stay in luxurious hotels, this is NOT the institute for you.  To reemphasize this point, if you require Western style hotels at the four- and five-star levels, this program is really, really not for you.  (As I indicated above, most of our hotels will be modest.)

4. If you want to visit South Africa and expect to have porters available to carry luggage  everywhere you go, this is NOT the institute for you.

If, however, your goal is to learn as much as possible while you study and travel in South Africa and then transfer the knowledge and understanding you gain, and materials you collect, into curriculum materials for your classroom, Kay and I would be delighted to receive your application.  And, yes, during our five weeks in South Africa, we will have a good time too as we create memories that will last a lifetime!


One teachers wrote:

I cannot fully express how much my NEH study and field experience in South Africa helped me to put past and present world events in perspective and to become a better teacher.  Africa often times gets overlooked.  The intense training this summer, however, via lectures, hand-on experiences, useful classroom materials and handouts, and travel have all given me the tools necessary to help students comprehend, analyze, and eventually evaluate data on contemporary issues as well as the history of the country.  I have really developed an understanding of the creation, evolution, and emergence of this modern nation.

Another teacher commented:

This project in South Africa was extremely beneficial.  The lectures were great and Rich, Kay, and Liesel were knowledgeable and helpful.  The historical background and different perspectives have provided me with a greater understanding of the events leading to the elimination of apartheid and the formation of a new democratic society under the leadership of Nelson Mandela.  This NEH program in South Africa made it possible for us teachers to attend lectures and interact with local people, giving an 妬nsider痴 perspective of South Africans and their culture.  We were able to research topics of interest on-site.  I am now integrating information from lectures, personal conversations, interviews, and research into my classroom activities.

Elephants find a watering hole in Hluhluhwe-Imfolozi Park.
Elephants find a watering hole in Hluhluhwe-Imfolozi Park.


Kay and Rich have conducted six programs for teachers in South Africa in the last ten years.  We can therefore say from our personal experience that this is a country which is safe from terrorism and with a well-developed infrastructure which makes travel a delight.  South Africans are also very friendly and eager to interact with Americans. 

All of this may seem pretty formal, when actually we really aren稚!  Do you have any questions?  If so, contact me, Rich Corby:  office phone - 870/460-1847; evening phone - 870/367-9281.  E-mail address:  corby@uamont.edu 

I look forward to receiving your application.  You can be assured that all of us on the selection committee will give it our most careful attention.


                                                                        Sincerely yours, 


                                                                        Richard A. Corby
Professor of History
University of Arkansas at Monticello
NEH Summer Institute Director