This course explores the politics of race and racism in the South African context by engaging with the theoretical and historical constructions of race during colonialism and apartheid and the ongoing impact on contemporary social life. Using the intersections of class and gender, space, culture, ethnicity, and language, the course seeks to expand on how these have been politicized and mobilized to ensure white supremacy and black oppression, as well as frame the resistance to these systems in the past, and present–day contestations. The course foregrounds academic literature, documentaries, films, local experts, and contemporary opinion pieces to trace the past in the present in a rich, complex, multi-layered, and reflective engagement. Students will draw on these resources to make sense of homestays in Langa, the first Black township built in South Africa, and Bo-Kaap, a Malay enclave in the city, home to people classified ‘coloured’ under apartheid. Excursions to sites of history, memory, and mean–making, such as the Robben Island Museum, Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, and into different racialized spaces in the city will be complemented with introductory sessions in Xhosa and Afrikaap(n)s, and an opportunity to explore subjects and sites of choice for a final project.
- Study race, racial construction, and mobilization tracing the history and contemporary impacts in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town
- Supplement academic material with in-country experts available to answer questions and assist in making sense of material
- Examine the courses thematic issues through on-site, experiential learning
- Participate in excursions and homestays with isiXhosa speaking black families in Langa and Afrikaap(n)s speaking coloured families in Bo-Kaap.