Burton D. Morgan Center, Knobel Hall
150 Ridge Road
Granville, OH 43023
|Sponsor(s):||Office of the Provost|
The Tuesday Lunch Series welcomes Jo Tague, assistant professor of history at Denison, presenting “Educating Activists: The South African Education Program on Denison’s Campus, 1982 to 1990.”
Each summer from 1982 to 1990, Denison hosted a month-long orientation for the South African Education Program (SAEP). Administered by the Institute for International Education (think Fulbright) and funded by American foundations, corporations, and universities as a means to secure and promote the education of black South Africans during apartheid, every year SAEP awarded 115 scholarships so that students could attend one of 150 participating institutions.
Though the vast majority of students completed the orientation and then went on to other colleges or universities, a handful remained at Denison to complete their undergraduate training. Still, this means that for nearly 1,000 South African students awarded SAEP scholarships, Denison served as their point of entry to American higher education; Granville was their first exposure to life in the United States.
This talk explores how students experienced this orientation program–the type of coursework they completed, their evaluations of orientation pedagogies, how they managed homesickness, and how they made home anew. What emerges is a narrative of South African students–beyond the gaze of the apartheid regime–who transformed into activists in their own right and politicized their American peers, Denison students, in the process. Most scholarship approaches the history of anti-apartheid activism on U.S. campuses by focusing exclusively on the activities and contributions of American students and faculty (particularly via calls for divestment). Less visible has been the prominent role that South African students played in the movement and how their international education fostered advocacy and activism.