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Race And Reconciliation

Essays From The New South Africa

Daniel Herwitz

Publication Year: 2003

Justice, truth, and identity; race, society, and law—all come into dramatic play as South Africa makes the tumultuous transition to a post-apartheid democracy. Seeking the timeless through the timely and trying to find the deeper meaning in the sweep of events, Daniel Herwitz brings the vast resources of the philosophical essay to bear on the new realities of post-apartheid South Africa—from racial identity to truth commissions, from architecture to film and television. A public intellectual’s reflections on public life, Herwitz’s essays question how the new South Africa has constructed its concepts of reconciliation and return and how its historical emergence has meant a rethinking, reimagining, reexperiencing, relabeling, and repoliticizing of race. Herwitz’s purpose is to give a philosophical reading of society—a society already relying on implicitly philosophical concepts in its social and political agendas. Working through these concepts, testing their relevance for reading society, his book itself becomes a part of the politics of definition and description in the new South Africa.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Public Worlds

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Earlier versions of parts of this book have appeared in the journals Common Knowledge, Theoria, The South African Journal of Philosophy, and Current Writing, and in the edited volume blank: architecture, apartheid, and after. Sections of the book have been presented to the Cornell University Humanities Center; ...

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pp. xi-xxviii

1985. P. W. Botha, expected to make a speech announcing massive reform of the crumbling apartheid state, instead refuses to “cross the Rubicon.” Overnight the rand devalues by more than 100 percent in a country already embroiled in war, chaos, township violence, and spiraling state terror. ...

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1 The Coat of Many Colors: Truth and Reconciliation

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pp. 1-46

Joseph, seventeen years old, was a shepherd, along with his brothers. Israel, their father, loved Joseph more than his other sons, for he was his father’s late lamb, the son of his old age. One day, Israel had a special coat, sewn of long sleeves and dazzling colors, made for him. ...

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2 Soweto’s Taxi, America’s Rib

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pp. 47-68

Rainbow Nation: the guiding image of early postapartheid South Africa. Rainbow Nation: an image that had great currency during the mid- to late 1990s, the image of a society where, finally, each band of color would chromatically harmonize with all others while retaining its own distinctiveness. ...

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3 Afro-Medici: Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance

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pp. 69-103

Semper aliquid novi ex Africa: “Always something new from Africa.” The African renaissance. So many words: indabas and bosberade, i.e., meetings, conferences, discussions, pronouncements, speeches. So many words about words. In a language that everyone can understand. ...

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4 Racial and Nonracial States and Estates

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pp. 104-127

Presenting a paper to the University of Natal History Seminar in April 2000, the South African sociologist Gerry Mare began in this way: ...

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5 The Genealogy of Modern South African Architecture

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pp. 128-172

Public and private. North and south. We begin in the north, in public, at the center, to understand the periphery, the public, the private, the south. ...

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6 Postmodernists of the South

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pp. 173-195

Dali Tambo, son of Oliver of past African National Congress fame and host for the dazzling and inventive television show People of the South, appears in the lightness of a complete African wardrobe, his long green garment flowing to the ground as effusively as his gestures. ...

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7 Ongoing Struggle at the End of History

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pp. 196-210

One person dead and one hundred and fifty thousand demonstrating at the G8 Summit in Genoa. Demonstrations against the injustice in globalization in Seattle, Davos, São Paolo. All this at the end of history. Africa in shambles, and all this at the end of history. ...


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pp. 211-216


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pp. 217-228

E-ISBN-13: 9780816694563
E-ISBN-10: 0816694567
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816641086

Page Count: 260
Publication Year: 2003

Edition: First edition
Series Title: Public Worlds

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • South Africa -- Race relations.
  • South Africa. Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Reconciliation -- Political aspects -- South Africa.
  • South Africa -- Politics and government -- 1994-.
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