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South Africa's Dreams: Ethnologists and Apartheid in Namibia

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South Africa's Dreams

Ethnologists and Apartheid in Namibia

Robert J. Gordon

228 pages, 2 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-974-7 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Not Yet Published (February 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78920-975-4 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Having lived through much of the time discussed in this book in South Africa and being aware of the political and academic implications of white politics and of the politics of anthropology, I found this book highly engaging, confrontational of white conservatism and racism and justly devastating of expertise gone wrong”. • C. S. van der Waal, Stellenbosch University


In the early sixties, South Africa’s colonial policies in Namibia served as a testing ground for many key features of its repressive ‘Grand Apartheid’ infrastructure, including strategies for countering anti-apartheid resistance. Exposing the role that anthropologists played, this book analyses how the knowledge used to justify and implement apartheid was created. Understanding these practices and the ways in which South Africa’s experiences in Namibia influenced later policy at home is also critically evaluated, as is the matter of adjudicating the many South African anthropologists who supported the regime.

Robert J. Gordon is Emeritus Professor at the University of Vermont and a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State. His books include Going Abroad: Travelling like an Anthropologist (Routledge, 2010) and most recently The Enigma of Max Gluckman: The Ethnographic Life of ‘Luckyman’ in Africa (Nebraska, 2018) which was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2019.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Colonial History Peace and Conflict Studies


Notes on Text
List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1. Beleaguered Knowledge: The Interwar Irrelevance of Anthropological Expertise
Chapter 2. Post-World War II Ethnological Dispositions in a Disputed Territory
Chapter 3. Performing for All the World to See: Bruwer and the Fashioning of Modern Namibia
Chapter 4. From WHAM to Countermobilization
Chapter 5. Bringing Bonn Back In

Conclusion: “Have We Met the Enemy and is (S)he Us?” (Pogo)


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