Professor Andrew Bank, Department of History, University of the Western Cape

This two-lecture course will explore the creative writing of women anthropologists who shaped modern social anthropology in southern and central Africa in the mid-twentieth century. The first lecture will consider the works of South African anthropologist Hilda Beemer Kuper during the 1940s and 1950s, including her writing about Swazi culture. Hortense Powdermaker and Edith Turner are the focus of the second lecture. These scholars associated with the Rhodes-Livingston Institute in Northern Rhodesia during the 1950s also draw on their fieldwork: their books Stranger and Friend and The Spirit of the Drum reflect the creation of a more ‘self-reflective’ modern anthropology.



1. Anthropology and literature: the ethnographic fiction of Hilda Beemer Kuper

2. Women of the Rhodes Livingstone Institute: the autobiographies of Hortense Powdermaker and Edith Turner


Recommended reading

Bank, A. 2016. Pioneers of the Field: South Africa’s Women Anthropologists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kuper, H. 2015. A Witch in My Heart. Johannesburg: Macmillan.

Powdermaker, H. Stranger and Friend: The Way of an Anthropologist . New York: W.W. Norton.


Date: Thursday 18–Friday 19 January  
Time: 3.30 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R205,00  Staff: R100,00 Reduced: R55,00