Department of English

Professor Barbara Harlow to present 2010 Africa Distinguished Lecture

Thu, August 26, 2010
Professor Barbara Harlow to present 2010 Africa Distinguished Lecture

“She was a difficult act to follow, was Ruth,” wrote Gillian Slovo, Ruth First’s second daughter. But who was Ruth First? What was her act anyway? And why did it get her killed?

Professor Barbara Harlow's talk, entitled “The Power to Make a Difference: Ruth First and Human Rights Advocacy,” will reflect on Ruth First’s act—her activism—in the anti-apartheid struggle and her pedagogy in post-independence Africa; what followed in the work of her three daughters, Shawn, Gillian, and Robyn; and the now global resonances of that genealogy: torture, Guantánamo, and HIV/AIDS.

Harlow's talk, which is sponsored by the Department of History's Africa Distinguished Speaker Series, will take place September 21 at 7:00 p.m. in Jester A121A.

Barbara Harlow is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literatures in the Department of English at The Univeristy of Texas at Austin and has also taught at the American Univeristy in Cairo (1977–1983, 2006–2007), the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg (1998), and the University of Natal in Durban (2002). She is the author of Resistance Literature (1986), Barred: Women, Writing, and Political Detention (1992), and After Lives: Legacies of Revolutionary Writing (1996). She is currently working on an intellectual biography of the South African activist Ruth First.

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