Profile: Isabel Hofmeyr

Prof. of African Literature

Isabel's research interests include post-colonialism; African literature; Southern African literary studies; oral history and literature; John Bunyan; seventeenth century studies; textual trans-nationalism; Africa-India interactions; Indian Ocean studies; histories of the book and print culture; and histories of reading and writing. Her current work focuses on Africa and its intellectual trajectories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
More recently she has explored textual circulation in the Global South with a focus on the Indian Ocean. Her work addresses questions of Africa’s intellectual place in the world and the material and aesthetic history of texts and their transnational circulation. Hofmeyr has served as Acting Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, which she helped to establish. She has held fellowships in various parts of the world; and sits on numerous editorial boards.

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NoteStreams By Isabel Hofmeyr

What Book Thieves Say About A Country’s Culture

The catalogue of the Johannesburg Public Library in South Africa contains a poignant entry – “Biko, Steve. Long 0verdue”.
The entry refers to I Write What I Like, a volume of collected writings by Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader tortured to death in police custody in 1977. The library used to have six copies of the volume but they have all been borrowed and never returned.

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