Slave Emancipation and Racial Attitudes in Nineteenth-Century South Africa

Slave Emancipation and Racial Attitudes in Nineteenth-Century South Africa

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This book examines the social transformation wrought by the abolition of slavery in 1834 in South Africa's Cape Colony. It pays particular attention to the effects of socioeconomic and cultural changes in the way both freed slaves and dominant whites adjusted to the new world. It compares South Africa's relatively peaceful transition from a slave to a non-slave society to the bloody experience of the US South after abolition, analyzing rape hysteria in both places as well as the significance of changing concepts of honor in the Cape. Finally, the book examines the early development of South Africa's particular brand of racism, arguing that abolition, not slavery itself, was a causative factor; although racist attitudes were largely absent while slavery persisted, they grew incrementally but steadily after abolition, driven primarily by whites' need for secure, exploitable more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 maps
  • 1139135147
  • 9781139135146

Review quote

'This book, based on meticulous research, is well written and at times deliciously sharp. It provides an unprecedented account of the ways in which both the slaves of the Cape Colony and their erstwhile owners reorganized their intertwined lives in the aftermath of abolition. For the first time, a description of Cape society is combined with a clear understanding of the shifting social ideologies that led to an enhanced South African racism. It is a singular achievement.' Robert Ross, Leiden University 'Rick Watson's accessible book admirably synthesizes existing scholarship with his new research, and, by focusing on the era of slave emancipation at the Cape, makes an important contribution to knowledge of the origins of South African racism.' Christopher Saunders, University of Cape Town 'This is a critical study of a much neglected period - the decades around and after slave emancipation in the 1830s - and its impact on the racial structuring of the Cape Colony. Watson writes with vigor and insight, offering fresh perspectives on a vital topic in South African history, with comparative insights from North American scholarship.' Nigel Worden, University of Cape Town 'A clear written study of a neglected area of history, it will provide teachers with an important point of comparison with the parallel development of racism in the West Indies.' Richard Brown, Historical Association Newslettershow more

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. THE FOUNDATIONS oF a RACIAL ORDER: 1. The passing of the slave system; 2. Labor and the economy; Part II. CULTURAL AND POLITICAL FACTORS: 3. Missions; 4. Respectability; 5. The frontier; 6. The trek; 7. Plagues; Part III. RAPE, rACE, AND VIOLENCE: 8. Violence; 9. Rape and other crimes; 10. Honor; Part IV. A RACIAL ORDER: 11. Sediment at the bottom of the mind; 12. An aristocracy of skin; more