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Centre for Rhetoric Studies

The UCT Centre for Rhetoric Studies (CRhS)

The UCT Centre for Rhetoric Studies (CRhS), based in the UCT Faculty of Law, is recognised as being unique on the African continent, where it has pioneered the emergence of Rhetoric Studies (see Blackwell International Encyclopaedia of Communication).  CRhS concerns itself with multidisciplinary research in public rhetoric, deliberative democracy and argumentative culture. 

In addition to research projects, the CRhS engages in three main activities:

  1. hosting research fellows
  2. organising academic conferences
  3. supervising postgraduate students (Masters and PhD).

Since 2000 CRhS has been graduating Masters and PhD students in the field of Rhetoric. Past graduates are employed in the high civil service across Southern Africa or hold academic positions in South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.  

Having started out in the Faculty of Humanities, CRhS moved in late 2016 to the Faculty of Law in an affiliation with the Department of Private Law. The Centre’s location is in keeping with practice elsewhere, which sees advanced-level Rhetoric studies based in law schools. 

Since the beginning of 2018, CRhS  offers an LLB elective course on Law, Rhetoric and Society (RDL4604S) as part of Private Law's offerings in the LLB programme, as well as supervision of LLB Independent Research Papers on appropriate topics related to law’s rhetoric as well as rhetoric more broadly. 

The Master of Laws in Rhetoric Studies and the Doctorate of Philosophy in Rhetoric Studies are already on offer and have registered students.


CRhS is pleased to be able to offer AW Mellon Foundation scholarships again from 2019, following a two-year gap in Mellon funding for Rhetoric postgraduate studies. The news of the Mellon grant came on the heels of the recent re-launch of CRhS as a Law Faculty research unit, and the recognition of the Masters and PhD in Rhetoric Studies as degrees of the Law Faculty.

Academic Staff

Director: Philippe-Joseph Salazar is a Distinguished Professor in Rhetoric, in the Faculty of Law.

philippe.salazar@uct.ac.za | 021 650 5610

A graduate in philosophy, politics and literature from Ecole normale supérieure and the Sorbonne (Paris), where he studied under Emmanuel Levinas, Roland Barthes and Marc Fumaroli, and had Louis Althusser as tutor, Philippe-Joseph Salazar is the Director of the Centre for Rhetoric Studies. He is a former Director in Rhetoric and Democracy at Jacques Derrida's foundation, College international de Philosophie, Paris. He is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town and has held a continuous A1 rating since its inception by the academic research rating agency of South Africa. He is the 2008 2008 laureate of the Harry Oppenheimer award as well as a laureate in 2015 of the French Prix Bristol des Lumières (awarded for the best essay in political ideas), for his book on the rhetoric of jihadist terrorism, Paroles Armées ( http://www.lemieux-editeur.fr/Paroles-armees-202.html  ), now published in four languages (Spring 2017: English world-wide release at Yale University Press, and in November 2017 in Arabic).

He is editor-in-chief of "Power of Persuasion", a series devoted to rhetoric and politics at France's oldest publisher in the Social Sciences, Klincksieck and founding editor of the African Yearbook of Rhetoric.

A sought-after speaker, he has held a number of prestigious guest appointments and invitations in France, Russia, Canada, Morocco, Sweden and the United States, and leads a number of international projects in public rhetoric (Morocco, France, Hungary, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Romania,Argentina).

Among his many publications, which span a wide field of enquiry in the theory, history and culture of rhetoric, his African Athens (2002), Amnistier l'Apartheid (2004) and Mahomet (2005),  Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa. The Fundamental Documents (2007, co-authored) have garnered special praises. Among his  recent books: Paroles de Leaders (2011) and De l’art de séduire l’électeur indécis (2012) have helped familiarize the French public with rhetoric in public affairs. Paroles armées (2015) has attracted a wide international media attention. His latest book, Blabla République was published in January 2017. http://www.lemieux-editeur.fr/Blabla-Republique-fait-parler.html

More information on Professor Salazar's extensive publications and achievements can be found here, and an extensive bio is available on wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe-Joseph_Salazar


Co-Director: Professor Jaco Barnard-Naude

aj.barnard-naude@uct.ac.za | 021 650 5655

Jaco Barnard-Naudé (BCom(Law)(cum laude) LLB(summa cum laude)LLD(UP)MA(UCT)) is Professor of Jurisprudence and Co-Director of the Centre for Rhetoric Studies in the Department of Private Law. He holds a B2-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and is a past recipient of the UCT Fellows Award.  In the United Kingdom, Prof Barnard-Naudé is currently the British Academy’s Newton Advanced Fellow in the School of Law at Westminster University and Honorary Research Fellow in the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. His research involves critical jurisprudence, sexual minority freedom, post-apartheid jurisprudence, spatial justice, law and aesthetics and Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic jurisprudence. His public intellectual work is extensive and has focused in recent years on Afrikaans literary and film criticism.


Edited collection
AJ Barnard-Naudé, Drucilla Cornell & François du Bois (eds) Dignity, Freedom and the Post-Apartheid
Legal Order (2008) Juta: Cape Town ISBN 978-0-7021-8137-5.

Articles, notes and book reviews in peer-reviewed journals

  1. AJ Barnard “A different way of saying. On stories, text, the critical legal argument for contractual justice and the ethical element of contract in South Africa” (2005) 21(2) The South African Journal on Human Rights 278.
  2. AJ Barnard “To Wonderland Through The Looking-Glass: Conceiving A Critical Legal Argument For Contractual Justice In The South African Law Of Contract” (2006) 17(2) Law and Critique 153.
  3. cont.../

Professor Barnard-Naude's extensive publication record can be accessed here. 

CRhS Publication

CRhS runs an independent site for the Centre, and publishes many of its findings through the open access journal African Yearbook of Rhetoric and encourages publications by graduates.