The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Emereritus Professor Daya Reddy, and the Chair of Medicine, Professor Ntobeko Ntusi, invite you to a lecture titled “The Nine Circles of Scholarship” by Distinguished Professor Philippe-Joseph Salazar.

Philippe-Joseph Salazar is an alumnus of Lycée Louis-le-Grand and Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. He holds three master’s degrees, a doctorate, and a senior doctorate, all from the Sorbonne. He studied semiology with Roland Barthes, metaphysics with Emmanuel Levinas, and rhetoric with Marc Fumaroli.

He travelled to South Africa in 1978, aged 23, to undertake covert field work on racial discourse for a PhD in anthropology. The South African Intelligence seized the completed typescript in 1982 but the public viva took place at the Sorbonne in 1983, in singular circumstances. Meanwhile, in 1980, he published his first scholarly book, in sociology, Idéologies de l’opéra (Presses Universitaires de France).

He was appointed to the Chair of French at UCT in 1986, Dean of Arts in 1993, and elected to the College of Fellows in 1995. That year he founded the Centre for Rhetoric Studies, pioneering the discipline in Africa.

In 1998 he was elected Director in Rhetoric and Democracy at Jacques Derrida’s Collège International de Philosophie. In 1999 he was appointed to a French professorial chair, and to a Distinguished Professorship in Rhetoric and Humane Letters at UCT. He chose to remain in South Africa, and he is now a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Law.

In 2008 he was awarded the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship. The National Research Foundation promoted him from A (2002) to A1 in 2008, a rating he has held since. He has been a board member of 30 scholarly journals and learned societies, and led 15 international projects in rhetoric (Argentina, China, France, Hungary, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden). Since 2000 he has delivered 110 plenaries, keynotes, and guest lectures world-wide.

Since his first scholarly article (1978) on power and preaching in 15th century Florence, he has published 25 book-length monographs, 15 co-authored volumes or scholarly editions, 110 chapters, and 165 articles in English, French, German, Italian, Slavic languages, Spanish, and Arabic.

He has earned acclaim for extending the reach of rhetoric to topics ranging from nation-building (An African Athens, Rhetoric and the Shaping of Democracy in South Africa, 2002) to separatism (Suprémacistes, 2021), from political reconciliation (Amnistier l’Apartheid, 2004) to religious extremism (Words are Weapons, Inside ISIS’s Rhetoric of Terror, 2017).

In 2022 international rhetoricians under the editorship of Professor J Barnard-Naudé presented him with a jubilee book, The Critical Rhetoric of Philippe-Joseph Salazar (Juta), to celebrate his 40th year at UCT, and in rhetoric.

Time: 17:15 for 17:30 on Monday, 22 May 2023

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