Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (African Perspectives)

Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (African Perspectives)
Unsettled History examines how South African society and its public pasts were constructed and presented from Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 to South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. While this period is conventionally represented as a moment for the rectification of the silences and distortions of settler history through inclusion and recovery, this volume instead focuses on how the processes and locations of historicizing shifted and categories of framing history were unsettled in post-apartheid South Africa. It shows how this period saw a number of fundamental transformations in the order of knowledge: from the academy to the public; from popular history to public history; from history-as-lesson to history-as-forum.

This volume is the outcome of the authors’ intensive collaborative research and engagement over 25 years on questions including the production and performance of apartheid history; the cultural politics of social history; South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and practices of orality; tourism as an arena of image-making and historical construction; museums as sites of heritage production for a new South Africa; photographs, archival meanings, and the construction of the social documentary; the centenary commemorations of the South African War and the making of race. The authors not only witnessed many of these instances of history-making but were also participants in their constitution.

The authors take the reader with them on a journey to these sites of historical production, in which complex ideas about pasts are invoked. Simultaneously, they embark upon a journey to understand the agencies of image-making and memory production. Going beyond the conventional binaries between source and narrative, the oral and the written, Unsettled History explores different domains of historical production, image-making and the relationships between them.

Details Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (African Perspectives)

Title Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (African Perspectives)
AuthorLeslie Witz
Release Date28th Feb 2017
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Pages328 pages

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