FACING THE ARCHIVE:   NARRATIVE, MEMORY AND APARTHEID Prof. Garth Stevens & Prof. Norman Duncan University of the Witwater...
Background to the Project <ul><li>Apartheid Archives Study initiated in 2008, >20 researchers from SA, UK, US and Australi...
Rationale <ul><li>Impression that the excesses of the apartheid order never really occurred; that a significant proportion...
Rationale (continued) <ul><li>09 February 2004 : Police arrested a [white] Limpopo game farmer and three alleged accomplic...
Rationale (continued) <ul><li>Foreground narratives of the everyday experiences of ‘ordinary’ South Africans during the ap...
Some Conceptual Issues <ul><li>Narratives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Form and content;  object of research or a means for the s...
Some Conceptual Issues (continued) <ul><li>Memory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vagaries of memory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invo...
Some Conceptual Issues (continued) <ul><li>Theoretical orientations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical race theory </li></ul><...
The Sub-Projects <ul><li>Apartheid and the regimes of power in previously whites-only universities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(...
The Sub-Projects <ul><li>The Apartheid Archive as a call to justice and the ethical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(L. Laubscher) <...
Other Possible Sub-Projects <ul><li>Memory and reconciliation </li></ul><ul><li>The trans-generational transmission of tra...
Special Journal Issues & Book <ul><li>We have organised the following special journal issues to foreground the work of the...
The Apartheid Archive Project
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Facing The Archive: The Apartheid Archive Project by Prof. Garth Stevens and Prof. Norman Duncan

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Facing The Archive: The Apartheid Archive Project by Prof. Garth Stevens and Prof. Norman Duncan

  1. 1. FACING THE ARCHIVE: NARRATIVE, MEMORY AND APARTHEID Prof. Garth Stevens & Prof. Norman Duncan University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 06 October 2009 Men [and women] make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by them, but under circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living (Marx, 1869/1977, p. 398).
  2. 2. Background to the Project <ul><li>Apartheid Archives Study initiated in 2008, >20 researchers from SA, UK, US and Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Initial funding from Carnegie, Dean’s Office and SHCD + other sources </li></ul><ul><li>Launched in June 2009 ( www.apartheidarchive.org ) </li></ul><ul><li>Broad aim of the project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“… through the collection of over 5000 narratives, to examine the nature of the experiences of ordinary South Africans under the old apartheid order and to interrogate their continuing effects on individual and group functioning in contemporary South Africa.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objectives to be defined as the project evolves through smaller sub-projects </li></ul><ul><li>Data Collection through internet portal, student projects, dedicated data collection teams and researchers themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Not an attempt to generate the definitive Archive , but to seek out intersections with other similar projects on memory, recovery archiving, etc. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Rationale <ul><li>Impression that the excesses of the apartheid order never really occurred; that a significant proportion of the South African population was not complicit in these excesses; that the pernicious effects of this social formation were not as dire as they are currently made out to be; not a full appreciation of the extent of its ongoing impact on our lives </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths and limitations of the TRC; occluded voices of the ordinary and mundane; partly a result of its mandate </li></ul><ul><li>Denialism and the ideology of tolerance (see Rüsen and Zizek) </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary social problems that are racialised; flashpoints reflect a history that has not been fully comprehended and addressed </li></ul><ul><li>The recrudescence, mutability and recalcitrance of a racist legacy can be seen in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the continued racialisation of intergroup relations and subjectivities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the vexing question of xenophobia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the emotive debates about affirmative action, employment equity and institutional transformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the forms of ethnic and identity politics that rear their heads each time we have an election </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the racialisation of social ills such as crime and HIV/AIDS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the old, new and more subtle manifestations of racism </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Rationale (continued) <ul><li>09 February 2004 : Police arrested a [white] Limpopo game farmer and three alleged accomplices after they allegedly fed a ‘troublesome’ worker to lions. Police arrested the unnamed men … after recovering … Nelson Shisane’s skull, part of his legs, and bloody clothing … Witnesses say that the farmer first severely beat Shsane, before … throwing him … into a lion enclosure … The farmer and three workers allegedly watched as a lion mauled him, before it dragged him off into the bush (Arenstein, 2004, n. p.). </li></ul><ul><li>14 January 2008 : Johan Nel (18) [a white youth] went on a shooting spree at Skierlik informal settlement, killing four [black] people, including a three-month-old baby, in an apparent race-related attack … North West Safety and Security MEC Phenye Vilakazi said the murders were racially motivated. He said there was no other explanation (Thakali, 2008, p. 15). </li></ul><ul><li>15 February 2008 : In Pretoria, reported racial tension among pupils led to the stabbing of two Hoërskool Akasia teenagers in a fight outside the school grounds. Three coloured boys were arrested and appeared in court for the incident, while two white boys were hospitalised. Pupils at the school protested to the school’s principal about a failure to address complaints of discrimination. Some students claimed there had long been white-on-black racism at their school (Thakali, 2008, p. 15). </li></ul><ul><li>07 March 2008 : He told me that all white students [at the University of the Free State] are against [racial] integration but the university is forcing them [to integrate]. He asked me what I want in the white men’s residence since I’m black … Then they locked me in the cupboard for more than three hours with a sack of rotten potatoes (Joubert, 2008, p. 6). </li></ul><ul><li>27 February 2008 : A video made by four white University of the Free State students, in which five black workers were taken through a series of degrading mock initiation activities … increased racial tensions. The students made the video in protest against the forced [racial] integration of Reitz hostel (Thakali, 2008, p. 15). </li></ul><ul><li>In May 2008 : South Africa was rocked by a series of brutal xenophobic attacks against foreigners. These attacks led to the death of 56 people and the displacement of approximately 30000 foreign nationals, all of them people of colour (Reuters, 2008). </li></ul><ul><li>A recent visit to Vryburg … presented me with a picture of excessive opulence cheek by jowl with poverty and exclusion – divided largely along racial lines. Young white males swagger in the streets with holstered guns on display. Black learners are relegated to schools that barely function, in order to allow white learners to pursue the privileges their parents demand. The main high school … an ‘Afrikaans school’ … is essentially white, and an ‘an English school’ … is black ( Villa-Vicencio, 2008, p. 24). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Rationale (continued) <ul><li>Foreground narratives of the everyday experiences of ‘ordinary’ South Africans during the apartheid era, rather than simply focusing on the ‘grand’ narratives of the past, or the privileged narratives of academic, political and social elites. </li></ul><ul><li>Fill the ‘forgotten’ gaps interspersed between the ‘grand’ narratives recorded by the TRC and other more formalised archiving projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recovery and recording </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speaking the unspeakable; giving voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding the present through the past </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building theory and forms of praxis </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Some Conceptual Issues <ul><li>Narratives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Form and content; object of research or a means for the study of another question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>misleading to refer to ‘a story’ or ‘the story’ as of it has an independent existence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Narratives are therefore never pure reflections of deeds, behaviours and events. They are always sites in which the personal investments of speakers, listeners, the invisible interlocutors who may apprehend such stories, and the influence of the social context on our interpretations of the world, converge to give rise to a constructed version of the event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integral to Critical Race Theory </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Some Conceptual Issues (continued) <ul><li>Memory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vagaries of memory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invoking memories of historical experiences centred on axes of inequality, tells us more about social cleavages in the present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal memories have the ability to provide a point of rupture and discontinuity with collective memories </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Some Conceptual Issues (continued) <ul><li>Theoretical orientations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical race theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discursivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical whiteness studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-coloniality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychoanalytic theory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literary studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical anti-racist praxis literature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical education theory and practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oral history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. The Sub-Projects <ul><li>Apartheid and the regimes of power in previously whites-only universities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(P. Gobodo-Madikizela; S. Mahlomaholo) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Apartheid and whiteness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(G. Straker; M. Steyn) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Raced’ preciousness and apartheid childhood </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(B. Bowman) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subjectivity and the ideologies of tolerance and intolerance in narratives of apartheid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(G. Stevens) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative hallucinations and the de-realisation of history </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(D. Hook) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remembering and the inscription of space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(C. Long) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The Sub-Projects <ul><li>The Apartheid Archive as a call to justice and the ethical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(L. Laubscher) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exploring auto-ethnographic theatre in examining the past </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(W. Nebe) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intersections of race and gender in memories of the past </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(T. Shefer; H. Canham) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The archive and the South African Diaspora </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(C. Sonn; D. Hook) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The archive as an antidote to social anxiety </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(K. Kometsi) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Apartheid’s inscription on the family, past and present </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(N. Duncan; postgraduate students) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Other Possible Sub-Projects <ul><li>Memory and reconciliation </li></ul><ul><li>The trans-generational transmission of trauma related to racism </li></ul><ul><li>Similarities between memories of apartheid trauma and memories of other processes of national trauma elsewhere in world </li></ul><ul><li>the differential styles of remembering the past employed by different groups of people (e.g. whites, blacks, rural groups, lower-income groups and the privileged) </li></ul><ul><li>Narratives as a function of self-presentation and self-preservation </li></ul><ul><li>Living alternative sexual orientations during the apartheid period </li></ul>
  12. 12. Special Journal Issues & Book <ul><li>We have organised the following special journal issues to foreground the work of the Apartheid Archive Project: </li></ul><ul><li>South African Journal of Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Psychology in Society </li></ul><ul><li>Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, we are in the process of writing a book on the narratives contained in the archive. There is an opportunity to author several similar books </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Apartheid Archive Project
  14. 14. End - Thank You

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