Lyrical Nationalism in Post-Apartheid Namibia

Lyrical Nationalism in Post-Apartheid Namibia : Kings, Christians, and Cosmopolitans in Catholic Youth Songs

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When Namibia gained its independence from South Africa in 1990, the new government began dismantling the divisive apartheid state and building a unified nation-state. What does this new nation look like from the perspective of ordinary citizens? In Lyrical Nationalism in Post-Apartheid Namibia, Wendi Haugh provides an ethnographic portrayal of the nation as imagined by people living in the former ethnic homeland of Ovamboland, with a particular focus on the lyrics of songs composed and performed by Catholic youth. The author argues that these youth draw on conflicting ideologies-hierarchical and egalitarian, nationalist and cosmopolitan-from multiple sources to construct a multi-faceted sense of national identity. She reveals how their vision of the nation-framed as neutrally national-is deeply rooted in specific local histories and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 300 pages
  • 157.48 x 226.06 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 18 black & white halftones
  • 0739188453
  • 9780739188453

Review quote

Lyrical Nationalism in Post-Apartheid Namibia is a work of careful, thoughtful scholarship, an exemplar of what anthropology should be: grounded in data collected ethnographically, but speaking to central questions within the discipline. The examination of Namibian Catholic youth in the late 1990s highlights how a particular vision of the nation, or even a feeling of nationalism, is a product of a particular social and historical period, illustrating (yet again) that nationalism is not one thing, but is constructed locally and temporally. Wendi Haugh makes her arguments clearly and helps us understand what nationalism in Africa looks like on the ground, through the eyes of its young people. -- Cati Coe, Rutgers University A masterpiece of lucid writing , displaying a fine ear for nuance, Haugh shows how a seemingly mundane activity like how Church choral singing by youth groups provides important insights into understanding the nature of nationalism. An invaluable addition for understanding not only Namibian nationalism, but the role of the Church and youth in near-contemporary Africa. -- Robert J. Gordon, University of Vermont Wendi Haugh's ethnographic analysis of Catholic youth songs in northern Namibia offers a unique window on the nation-building process in a newly independent country. Her rich accounting reveals the performative nature of nationalism, wherein singing and song both reflect and shape the new nation. This book makes an important contribution to the study of political transformation in post-apartheid southern Africa. -- John Friedman, University College Roosevelt / Utrecht University Lyrical Nationalism in Post-Apartheid Namibia taps into the spaces and moments, rarely explored, where young people constructed for themselves what it means to be part of both a nation and a cosmopolitan, global Christian community. By attending to the ethnic and historical particularity of these spaces, Wendi Haugh highlights the local and temporal roots of nationalist discourses. -- Meredith McKittrick, Georgetown Universityshow more

About Wendi A. Haugh

Wendi A. Haugh is assistant professor of anthropology and African studies at St. Lawrence more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: A History of Nationalism in Namibia Chapter 3: Catholic Youth Songs in Ethnographic Perspective Chapter 4: Shared Possessions, Shared Interests: The Nation as Individual(s) Chapter 5: Kings and Their Countries: The Nation as Hierarchical Whole Chapter 6: Beyond Pagans: Building and Maintaining a Modern Christian Nation Chapter 7: Connecting Across Difference: Cosmopolitan Nation Chapter 8: Conclusionshow more