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Archives, scholars and bureaucrats

14 August 2019

Annual ASSAf  Humanities Lecture

Date: 14 August 2019 | Time: 17h30-20h00 | Venue: Future Africa Campus at UP

Introductory message: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande.

Presenter: Prof. Crain Soudien, CEO of the HSRC  

This year the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) is commemorating its 50th anniversary and the 90th anniversary of its predecessor, the National Bureau of Educational and Social Research (NBESR), while the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria (UP) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The HSRC and the Faculty of Humanities at UP have partnered to commemorate these important milestones and take great pleasure in inviting you to a public lecture by  Prof. Crain Soudien, CEO of the HSRC.


‘A large Praetorian bureaucracy filled with ambitious… and often sycophantic people makes work and makes trouble’  Arthur M.Schlesinger Jr, Pulitzer Prize winner
In his lecture Prof. Soudien will focus on the archive as a means for understanding the relationship between the social science disciplines, the institutions—and particularly UP and the HSRC— and the idea of Pretoria – the capital of South Africa. This relationship shows how the bureaucratic mind meets the academic mind to facilitate the emergence of a praetorian sensibility — a sensibility of standing in ‘guard of power’. How do we read the archive of sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, political studies and so on, in relation to the emergence of Pretoria as a home for such a praetorian sensibility? How do new ideas created within and outside institutions increase resistance to dominance? And how does such resistance lead to new power relationships and ultimately impact society?


Enquiries: Arlene Grossberg, HSRC, email:
Heather Thuynsma, UP, email:
Renate Venier, ASSAf, email: