Seminar: Masculinity at University

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Kopano Ratele


This seminar is part of the [Re] Directions/Ukutshintshwa Kwendlela: Knowledge, Praxes and the African-purposed Curriculum seminar series hosted by the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET). It was hosted in May 2018, at the Bird Street Campus Art Gallery Drawing Room, Nelson Mandela University.



Prof Kopano Ratele is a Professor in the Institute of Social and Health Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and researcher in the South African Medical Research Council-UNISA Violence, Injury & Peace Research Unit. He runs the Research Unit on Men & Masculities as well as the Programme on Transdisciplinary African Psychologies.


Prof Ratele had the following to say about his discussion:

“Until a conversation with a would-be deputy vice-chancellor on why I am personally uninterested in university management, it was ironic that I had never dwelt at length on the kinds of masculinity that a university implicitly or deliberately nurtures or discourages. The irony is that I work at university, I am a man, and I study masculinities. The cultivation of some masculinities and dissuasion of others happen in the daily flow of university life, and not only in formal lectures. University managers and professors perform, challenge or bolster of masculinity ideologies in activities such as academic symposia where students are involved, authorship with or without students, supervision sessions, and workshops at residences. Working from the idea of multiple masculinities, and taking off from a teachable moment from a night in 2015 at what was called Azania House at the University of Cape Town during the #RMF campaign, in this talk I would like to consider the possible masculinities students might discover or fail to find at a university, where they might find such masculinities, what makes such discovery and failure possible, and what potential is there to cultivate a life-enhancing, progressive vision of masculinity.”


To find out more about the work CriSHET does, visit us here.