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Archive for the ‘Wits University Press’ Category

In Race Otherwise Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know race with one’s eyes, with racial categories and with genetic ancestry tests

Race Otherwise brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about how race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social. It is not without indignation, and not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work of thinking.’ – Crain Soudien, CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

Race Otherwise

‘People from different parts of the world ask ‘what mix’ I am. Which would you prefer? Salt and vinegar or cinnamon and sugar? Neither one of my parents was black Black. Neither one of them was white White. I am not half-and-half.’
(from Chapter 1, ‘This Blackness’)

How is ‘race’ determined? Is it your DNA? The community that you were raised in? The way others see you or the way you see yourself?

In Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know race with one’s eyes, with racial categories and with genetic ancestry tests. She moves between the intimate probing of racial identities as we experience them individually, and analysis of the global historical forces that have created these identities and woven them into our thinking about what it means to be ‘human’.

Starting from her own family’s journeys through regions of the world and ascribed racial identities, she develops her argument about how it is possible to recognise the pervasiveness of race thinking without submitting to its power. Drawing on the theoretical work of Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter and others, Erasmus argues for a new way of ‘coming to know otherwise’, of seeing the boundaries between racial identities as thresholds to be crossed, through politically charged acts of imagination and love.

Zimitri Erasmus is a professor of Sociology in the department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001) and in 2010 she was a UCT-Harvard Mandela Mellon Fellow. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph.

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Book launch: Critique of Black Reason by Achille Mbembe


 
In Critique of Black Reason eminent critic Achille Mbembe offers a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness – from the Atlantic slave trade to the present – to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity.

Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world’s center of gravity while mapping the relations between colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial and extractive capital.

Tracing the conjunction of Blackness with the biological fiction of race, he theorizes Black reason as the collection of discourses and practices that equated Blackness with the nonhuman in order to uphold forms of oppression. Mbembe powerfully argues that this equation of Blackness with the nonhuman will serve as the template for all new forms of exclusion.

With Critique of Black Reason, Mbembe offers nothing less than a map of the world as it has been constituted through colonialism and racial thinking while providing the first glimpses of a more just future.

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Joint book launch – Urban Revolt & Southern Resistance in Critical Perspective

Join the University of Johannesburg Library and the Centre for Social Change for the launch of two books focused on protests and resistance in the Global South: Urban Revolt and Southern Resistance in Critical Perspective.

Speakers will include contributors to the books: Trevor Ngwane, Immanuel Ness and Marcel Parett.

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Podcast: How Much Should Actors Earn? John Kani Comments on Generations Strike

Nothing But the TruthVeteran actor, playwright, and author of Nothing But the Truth John Kani lends his voice of support to the Generations actors who have been fired after they went on strike for higher salaries.

Kani speaks to John Robbie on Talk Radio 702 about how actors in South Africa continue to be underpaid.

Kani says the idea that the Generations actors are easily replaceable is a myth. These actors have earned their stripes through “true experience, academic training and hard work”.

Listen to the podcast:
 

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Glenda Daniels on the New Press Code and Why the Media Should Take Note

Fight for DemocracyIn her latest column for the Mail & Guardian Glenda Daniels revels in the brand new press code.

Daniels, author of Fight for Democracy: The ANC and the Media in South Africa, writes that this new code of ethics presents South African journalists with a golden opportunity and she chides media houses for not paying attention to it:

Earlier this month, at a Press Council event in the Constitutional Court precinct, a new regulatory regime for the press was announced, giving us an opportunity to make our journalism truly excellent.

Rather than go into the details of how independent co-regulation replaces self-regulation, or how there will be more members of the public on the Press Council, or how sanctions and space fines will be implemented against recalcitrant newspapers, or that a public advocate and a retired judge will now be involved in the new regulatory gig, I want to ask whether we can grasp this opportunity.

It can only be embraced if all of us in the industry become au fait with the new code. We should be seeing copies of the code on the walls and notice boards of media offices so that internalisation can take place.

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Skotnes and Keene’s “Made in Translation” Rock Art Exhibition at the South African Museum, Cape Town

Made in Translation Invite Image

“Made in Translation: Images from and of the Landscape,” is an exhibition at the Iziko South African Museum showcasing the varying ways in which landscapes have been “translated” or transformed via rock art. Copies/translations of rock art paintings are central features of the exhibition, illustrating the place and function of rock art amongst other forms of translation.

Pippa Skotnes, director of the Centre for Curating the Archive, Michaelis School of Fine Art UCT, and Petro Keene of Iziko Social History are the curators of the exhibition. “Made in Translation” opened to the public on the 21st of November and will run until September 2011:

Paintings and engravings are everywhere in the southern African landscape. They are the creative expressions of ideas that were once alive in the conversations around the campfire and in the rites of passage that marked the milestones of human life. Today these paintings and engravings have become sources of great longing, their meanings elusive; the impulses that gave rise to them often hotly debated.

For more about how we see and understand San rock art, pick up Seeing and Knowing: Rock Art with and without Ethnography edited by Geoffrey Blundell, Christopher Chippindale and Benjamin Smith.

Seeing and Knowing

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  • Seeing and Knowing: Rock Art with and without Ethnography edited by Geoffrey Blundell, Christopher Chippindale, Benjamin Smith
    EAN: 9781868145133
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Image courtesy Artlink


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Sandra Swart on the Significance of Animals in History at the Launch of Riding High

prof Anton van Niekerk - dr Sandra Swart

Riding HighNot every academic publication can be launched in a outdoor setting in Stellenbosch’s historic Dorp Street.Sandra Swart’s dynamic account of her research, in combination with the genial atmosphere at Verbatim bookstore, added a fittingly distinctive flavour to the launch of Riding High: Horses, Humans and History in South Africa.

As a horse-lover, Swart tried to give a voice to “those who cannot speak for themselves”. She emphasised that, although it isn’t necessarily possible to speak for animals, it is possible to make the once invisible become visible. And although, according to Swart, “writing history is harder than it looks”, she found the topic of the significance of animals in human history rewarding in many ways. Swart jokingly commented that her book has been some time coming, but that now she can “feel it, it is here”.

During her field work, Swart was not only able to spend time with horses, but also to get close to nature and share other people’s experiences with animals. Her book emphasises the dangers and difficulties the animals faced in various settings from South Africa’s post, but also reflects on nature and nature as an historical agency.

Swart said she was also “telling stories” about the relationship between humans and their animal companions. Her book speaks to many audiences – not only horse-lovers and historians, but also to anyone with a love for nature and man’s occasionally tempestuous relationship with nature and her creatures.

The audience responded to a striking comment in Swart’s account, namely “as the horse leaves agricultural fields, it gallops into the imagination”. This not only aptly describes the role of horses in history, but also gives a glimpse of the remarkable theme of this book.

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