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NYS Writers Institute, October 11, 2012
4:15 p.m. Reading/Discussion | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus

Dorothy Driver, eminent scholar of South African literature before and after Apartheid, will deliver a lecture entitled “The Work of Dreaming: Race, Feminism, and New South African Nationhood”  on Thursday, October 11 at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. The event is free and open to the public, and cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the University at Albany Departments of English, Africana Studies, and Women’s Studies.

An eminent scholar of South African literature before and after Apartheid, Dorothy Driver serves as Professor of English at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and formerly at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She has also held visiting professorships at Stanford and the University of Chicago.

Her lecture “The Work of Dreaming: Race, Feminism, and New South African Nationhood” will examine literary texts as sites of dreaming in which unrealized visions of social harmony and individual autonomy—primarily in women’s writing—serve as antidotes to the historical forces that have produced South Africa’s nexus of race-class-gender oppressions.  In considering the work of Olive Schreiner, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, and Zoë Wicomb, Driver will examine how South African feminist thinking sometimes reproduces a Western feminism but sometimes also inscribes into the South African imaginary new forms of social interaction, thereby opening a route into Julia Kristeva’s revolutionary ‘women’s time’. Dreaming and writing thus become a powerful basis for change.

Driver served as co-editor of the historical anthology Women Writing Africa: The Southern Region (2003), named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine of the American Library Association, which proclaimed it, “Essential. All readers; all levels.” The reviewer for Booklist said, “This splendid resource brings together more than 120 selections by women in six countries of southern Africa, in English and in translation from more than 20 different languages, ranging from wedding songs and work songs to letters, prison diaries, poetry, memoirs… this is a must for women’s studies and African history and literature collections.”

Driver previously edited collections about two of South Africa’s leading authors, Pauline Smith (1983), and Nadine Gordimer: A Bibliography (1994, with Craig MacKenzie and John Reid). She has also published essays on numerous South African writers, including Anne Barnard, Olive Schreiner, Ellen Kuzwayo, Tsitsi Danrembga, Yvonne Vera, Zoe Wicomb, and on such topics as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the African National Congress constitutional guidelines. For twenty years she produced the Journal of Commonwealth Literature’s annual survey of South African English literature and literary criticism, and served as co-editor for many years of the Southern African Review of Books.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.