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L1643166 'Cartographies of the South' workshop, Caird Library, National Maritime Museum with JM Coetzee.  Photo credit- Kai Easton.jpeg

Chasing the Archives



Further to the announcement sent out by CHASE for our archival training day,, here are some further details.  This is a wonderful opportunity for members of the Brief Encounters editorial team, and the Student Advisory Group, to work with us more closely on this CHASE-funded event, and to consider how it might contribute to future creative-critical scholarship.

The session is limited to 10 CHASE scholars, but we look forward to an exciting archive excursion chasing archives by early morning riverboat from Westminster Pier to Greenwich, which will be useful to you in all kinds of ways, and which will offer another window for reading 'Coetzee & the Archive' for those of you who can attend our conference.

COETZEE & THE ARCHIVE (5 & 6 OCT) includes a rare public reading by J. M. Coetzee from his most recent novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, as well as a performance of Bach by our guest pianist, Dr Kathryn Mosley, who recently completed her doctorate at Goldsmiths on Beethoven's cadenzas, and also holds degrees from Auckland and the Royal Academy of Music.  This format is inspired by the excellent interdisciplinary work (especially around music and literature) of the University of Adelaide's J. M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice.

CARTOGRAPHIES OF THE SOUTH is inspired by Coetzee's seminars on 'Literatures of the South' in Argentina, as well as his first book of critical essays, White Writing (1988).

Below is the envisioned itinerary and short syllabus.

Weds, 4 Oct

Archive Excursion         ‘Cartographies of the South’ with Dr Megan Barford, Curator of Cartography, Caird Library, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich [Numbers are very limited & names must be supplied to Caird in advance; Arrival at Greenwich c 9h00; visit NMM, Yinka Shonibare’s Ship in a Bottle; Greenwich Meridian, etc.


8:14 am – Embarkation: Westminster Pier – travelas a group by THAMES CLIPPER riverboat to Greenwich

9ish - Arrival: Greenwich

10h45 on the dot! – arrive at Caird Library – lockers, etc.        

11-13h00- Cartographies of the South, session led by Dr Megan Barford, Caird Library

Optional /independent travel to sites & riverboat back.

Advance reading and further details will be provided.

As the Director of Catédra Coetzee in Buenos Aires, Nobel Prizewinning author Coetzee twice annually curates short courses on Literatures of the South.

Taking this idea as our inspiration, students will engage in ‘archival exchanges’ and discoveries, particularly in relation to maps & ‘Southern Spaces’, one of the courses we teach at SOAS.  This has resonance for Coetzee’s own collaborations with writers, filmmakers and critics from Australia, South Africa and South America, considering ‘ideas of the South’ and ‘South-South’ relations and translations.

But what happens to that way of seeing when you find yourself in the North, here in the heart of the imperial metropolis?  How do we navigate ‘cartographies of the South’ in London – or in England or in Europe more widely -- both physically and critically?  

To consider these questions, workshop participants will be invited on an adventure via riverboat along the Thames to chase maritime maps in Greenwich.   It is hoped that, in collaboration with curators and other staff at the Caird Library, we will consider what kinds of authorship traverse the archives of our selected cartographies of the South.  What are the mobilities that we actually see in archival collections, considering their new and seemingly static locations?  Is it possible to trace their earlier origins, their companions and other fragments?  Does the repository in which they are held change the way that we see them?  And what about the inevitable gaps in the archive – what are its limitations, and how does the researcher handle the material, quite literally, but also figuratively? Are digital versions expanding the archive, or archival access, and what are the implications of this in terms of the production and circulation of knowledge?



Two poems in J. M. Coetzee's Antologia(51 Poets).  These are to be read in advance of the workshop - they are Australian poems in English and in Spanish translations.  No Spanish is required but it is important to think of the publishing context and location. 

Confirmed participants will be given access to the poems in this edition.

Further reading = do try to read the Introductions from the following works:

Antoinette Burton, Archive Stories

Kerry Ward, Networks of Empire [especially on the Cape, South-South forced migration, and Shaykh Yussuf]

Paul Carter, The Road to Botany Bay [especially on Arnhem Land Flinders, Light & Adelaide]

J. M. Coetzee, White Writing [especially on Burchell and Barrow]

And, as a starting point, please read:

See also James Halford's article in the Conversation on 3 Great Southern Lands

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