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A chanting foreign and familiar : the production and publishing of black women's collective life writing in South Africa

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dc.contributor.author Farr VA en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T06:35:52Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T06:35:52Z
dc.date.created 1998 en
dc.date.submitted 2002 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/5748
dc.description.abstract The focus of this thesis is the production and publishing of life writing by groups or pairs of women in South Africa from 1948 to the present. Drawing from interviews conducted with writers and publishers in South Africa, the researcher argues that it is in the publication of collectively authored texts that the different competencies of women, which have been dictated by the race, class and gender politics of the apartheid era, are most starkly highlighted and reinforced. The prominence of life writing in South Africa may have come from the fact that the country's history is so vivid in itself that personal accounts best convey the experience of living there. Yet because life writing has also been explicitly cultivated as a site of resistance, it's claimed that it offers a unique historical record of women's agency, leadership and activism in the apartheid era. In the post-apartheid era, it's proposed that women's life writing is a site of reconciliation and peace-building. It speaks of the diversity of women's strategies of resistance, expresses our commitment to healing and nation-building, and serves as a reminder of the urgency of retaining a multifaceted approach to the project of reconstructing the country. In feminist circles, life writing has been promoted as a means to ensure that the perspectives of ordinary women, their stories of defiance, opposition, and success despite unimaginable odds, form a counter-narrative to the "white-washed" and patriarchal histories of the colonial and apartheid regimes. However, the inequalities of race and class which persist in the new South Africa severely complicate the creation of an alternative historical and cultural reality. Collective life writing offers a concentrated instance of how social and political inequalities leave their mark on women's attempts to build coalitions across difference. Because it engages so explicitly with the problem of unequal distributions of power, a study of collective life writing offers both an unique avenue to observe the multiple ways in which forms of oppression intertwine with one another, and evidence of women's commitment to find the means to confront and overcome the legacies of the past. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Sociology en
dc.subject Fields of specialization en
dc.title A chanting foreign and familiar : the production and publishing of black women's collective life writing in South Africa en
dc.type Doctoral degree en
dc.description.degree PhD en


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