Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Kronos]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0259-019020150001&lang=es vol. 41 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Introduction: The micro-politics of knowledge production in Southern Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This issue of Kronos: Southern African Histories proposes a scaling down from analyses of scientific and institutional authority toward the micro-politics in the work of knowledge production. The articles locate the operations of power and affect in the interactions of individuals situated within networks. While histories of science in southern Africa are still sparse, these essays build on the region's rich micro-historical and biographical traditions and on developments in science studies globally. The twelve articles in this issue lie in the period from around 900 through to the present and their geographical range includes contemporary Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. This introduction discusses them thematically. The first theme 'Controlling and Classifying Nature' (articles by de Luna, Cook, Hammel, and Mwatwara and Swart) explores knowledge production before the apex of imperial rule and foreground collaborations between Africans and Europeans without defining the projects in scientific or imperialist terms. These articles expose the fragile boundaries between fact and fiction, knowledge and ignorance, in historical and natural understandings. The second theme, 'The Racial Politics of Cultural Knowledge' (articles by Wright, Bank, Hansen, and Duff) draws out the ideological, political, and affective motivations in scientific work and directs attention to the story of racial categories and racism in southern African science and its history more generally. The third theme, 'Local and Global Racial Politics' (articles by Dubow, Magaziner and Jacobs), demonstrates the potential of intellectual biographies to establish the presence of affect in a form usually reduced to equating power and knowledge. The fourth theme, 'The Micro-Politics of Science' (article by Heywood), probes how diverse actors, including molecular biologists, museum staff and conservationists, interacted in the development of a scheme to breed a look-alike of an extinct species, the quagga. Collectively, the pieces in this issue invite reflection connections across scales and about differences between the politics at different levels in the history of knowledge. They also illustrate the benefits to the history of knowledge that come from magnifying micro-dynamics. <![CDATA[<b>Marksmen and the bush: The affective micro-politics of landscape, sex and technology in precolonial South-Central Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This essay explores what we can know about the micro-politics of knowledge production using the history of bushcraft as a case study. In many societies in central, eastern and southern Africa, practitioners of technologies undertaken away from the village, in the bush, enjoy a special status. Among the Botatwe-speaking societies of south-central Africa, the status accorded hunters, smelters and other technicians of the bush was crafted in the centuries around the turn of the first millennium by combining old ideas about the blustery character of fame and spirits, and the talk that engendered both with the observation that technicians working in the bush shared a kinesthetic experience of piercing, poking and prodding into action during the generative activities of working smelts and taking down game. Yet the micro-politics of bushcraft knowledge also involved the bodies and feelings of spearmen and metallurgists' wives, lovers, mothers, sisters, and sometimes those of the entire neighbourhood. The invention of a new landscape category, isokwe, and the novel status of these seasonal technicians marks the development of a new kind of virile masculinity available to some men; it was a status with deeply sensuous, material and social meanings for women as well. <![CDATA[<b>'Not unlike mermaids': A report about the human and natural history of Southeast Africa from 1690</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In 1690, on the orders of Simon van der Stel, officials of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) interviewed one Nicolao Almede, a 'free black man of Mozambique' who had recently arrived at the Cape as a sailor aboard the English ship John and Mary. Almede informed his interlocutors about the country inland from the coast between Mozambique and Delagoa Bay (now Maputo Bay), into which he had previously ventured as a merchant. Although he does not mention the legendary name of Monomotapa, he does offer early descriptions of the Changamire dynasty, as well as the animals and people of the region, including its fabulous wealth. Some of the place names he mentioned are well known, while others cannot now be traced, perhaps because he was using indigenous rather than Portuguese names. The record of the interview concludes with Almede's description of mermaids, and the fact that their teeth could be had in the market at Mozambique. Together with producing a transcription and translation of the document this article explores it through a close reading to offer some speculations about the interweaving of legend and fact in the human and natural history of southern Africa in reports such as that of Almede. <![CDATA[<b>Thinking with birds: Mary Elizabeth Barber's advocacy for gender equality in ornithology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article explores parts of the first South African woman ornithologist's life and work. It concerns itself with the micro-politics of Mary Elizabeth Barber's knowledge of birds from the 1860s to the mid-1880s. Her work provides insight into contemporary scientific practices, particularly the importance of cross-cultural collaboration. I foreground how she cultivated a feminist Darwinism in which birds served as corroborative evidence for female selection and how she negotiated gender equality in her ornithological work. She did so by constructing local birdlife as a space of gender equality. While male ornithologists naturalised and reinvigorated Victorian gender roles in their descriptions and depictions of birds, she debunked them and stressed the absence of gendered spheres in bird life. She emphasised the female and male birds' collaboration and gender equality that she missed in Victorian matrimony, an institution she harshly criticised. Reading her work against the background of her life story shows how her personal experiences as wife and mother as well as her observation of settler society informed her view on birds, and vice versa. Through birds she presented alternative relationships to matrimony. Her protection of insectivorous birds was at the same time an attempt to stress the need for a New Woman, an aspect that has hitherto been overlooked in studies of the transnational anti-plumage movement. <![CDATA[<b>'If our cattle die, we eat them but these white people bury and burn them!' African livestock regimes, veterinary knowledge and the emergence of a colonial order in Southern Rhodesia, c. 1860-1902</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article discusses the micro-politics of knowledge in what became Southern Rhodesia by tracing the history of precolonial and early colonial interactions over African livestock regimes and biomedical approaches to the eradication of epizootics and panzootics. It demonstrates that political power determined which version of veterinary knowledge dominated and it explores the multiple functions played by colonial veterinary medicine as an opportunity for social control and 'performing' the alleged superiority of the settler society, as conquering livestock disease was integral to taming the local landscape. We show that the colonial veterinary establishment was still too slight by the end of the period under discussion to have a strong material (as opposed to ideological) impact, although assumptions about the superiority of veterinary knowledge and practice were entrenched. Moreover, divisions within the state and within the settler community inadvertently allowed local knowledge more power. We discuss the workings of late nineteenth and early twentieth century livestock management and healing regimes in both white and African communities and show how these regimes were contested over the time. We wish to historicise the decontextual-ised and romanticised view of local knowledge, by chiselling away at the taxonomic barrier between 'Western' and 'indigenous' knowledge - trying to demonstrate that those categories are fundamentally flawed. <![CDATA[<b>Socwatsha kaPhaphu, James Stuart, and their conversations on the past, 1897-1922</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es From 1897 to 1922, through all the phases of his career as a researcher into the histories and customs of Africans in Zululand and Natal, the colonial official James Stuart made copious notes of his ongoing conversations with Socwatsha kaPhaphu. Renderings of these notes fill 168 printed pages of volume 6 of the James Stuart Archive, published in 2014. The notes not only form a rich source of empirical historical information but also give insights into the contexts in which knowledges of the past were made and circulated in African societies in Zululand and Natal in the first two decades of the twentieth century. In addition, they reveal something of Stuart's own methods as a recorder of oral histories, and the changing conditions in which he worked. This essay examines the scope and, where possible, the sources of Socwatshas knowledge of the past, and why and when Stuart engaged in recording particular aspects of it. In doing so, the essay points up the inescapable intertwinings of accounts of the past as narrated by an African commentator and as recorded in writing by a colonial official. Scholars are now examining in detail the roles played by African knowledge makers in the making and circulating of literary knowledges of the continent in the colonial era; this essay takes a further step in this direction. <![CDATA[<b>The Berlin Mission Society and German linguistic roots of <i>volkekunde: </i>The background, training and Hamburg writings of Werner Eiselen, 1899-1924</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article presents a case for the centrality of race and racism in the training and early ethnographic writings of Werner Eiselen (1899-1977). Together with further discussion in two other articles, it demonstrates that Eiselen was not the consolidator of the British functionalist anthropological tradition in South Africa nor a strong affiliate of the liberal school of African studies in South Africa as other scholars have proposed. On the contrary, he was the founder of a radically different ethnographic tradition: an anti-humanist and deeply racialised tradition of cultural study with its roots in Berlin Mission Society ideology and German Africanist linguistics. I track the origins of Eiselens volkekunde to his missionary background in a former Boer Republic, his Afrikaner nationalist schooling and university career, and especially to his training in African linguistics in Hamburg (and Berlin) between 1921 and 1924 under the leading international figure in the field, the German linguist and ethnologist Carl Meinhof (1857-1944), whose racially informed theories and politics profoundly shaped Eiselen and the school of volkekunde that he would father during his decade-long tenure at Stellenbosch University. <![CDATA[<b>Urban research in a hostile setting: Godfrey Wilson in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia, 1938-1940</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Acknowledged for his pioneering urban anthropological research in Broken Hill through the publication of An Essay on the Economics of Detribalization in Northern Rhodesia (Parts I and II, 1940 and 1941), Godfrey Wilson's professional career was cut short by his death during World War II. The late 1990s transfer and cataloguing at the University of Cape Town of the Monica and Godfrey Wilson papers has made an enormously rich research archive accessible to the public. For the first time, Godfrey Wilson's notes from his fieldwork in Broken Hill enable us to examine his research project through his own observations. Based on a preliminary overview of these records and a tentative analysis of some of their contents, this article revisits the Broken Hill research project against the background of the published essay on the economics of detribalisation. Wilson's argument about temporary urbanisation is demonstrated through migration histories, information about length of stay in towns, and an analysis of the economics of urban livelihoods that focuses on wages including rations, household expenditures, and urban-rural transfers. But the published essay barely explains how in fact he conducted his field research. Although there are very few direct indications, we can infer some of his fieldwork practices and field methodology from notes that occasionally evoke an immediate sense of the trials and tribulations of everyday African life in Broken Hill in the early World War II years. How might experiences in the field have influenced Wilson's analysis? Overall, I discuss his work from two angles, first in the context of a time and place characterised by conflicting agendas, and secondly, in retrospect as the conceptual space and time of early World War II colonial Northern Rhodesia have yielded to different explanatory perspectives. <![CDATA[<b>'Facts about Ourselves': Negotiating sexual knowledge in early twentieth-century South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The focus of this article is on the introduction of sex education to middle-class white children in South Africa during the 1920s and 1930s. It argues that 'Facts about Ourselves for Growing Girls and Boys', a pamphlet put out by the Johannesburg Public Health Department in 1934, opens a window onto the ways in which sexual knowledge was mobilised to teach white, middle-class children correct forms of heterosexuality, as well as to assert and patrol boundaries between these children and African adults, particularly men. Until relatively recently, the field of the history of sexuality has been dominated by efforts to retrieve the histories of marginalised groups. This risks implying that heterosexuality is not historically contingent - that it is fixed, unchanging, and not inflected by race, class and gender. An analysis of 'Facts about Ourselves' and the mobilisation of sexual knowledge becomes, then, a means of tracing the history of the construction of 'normal' sexuality and so historicising heterosexuality. <![CDATA[<b>Racial irredentism, ethnogenesis, and white supremacy in high-apartheid South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es During the period of high apartheid - the 1960s and early 1970s - there was a resurgence of scientific racism in small but concentrated intellectual circles with strong transnational links to Britain and the United States. This resurgence was closely tied to the efforts of J.D.J. Hofmeyr, an eminent but little-known plant geneticist based at Pretoria University, to establish 'anthropogenetics' as a dimension of human genetics. Using networks associated with the radical right-wing journal The Mankind Quarterly, Hofmeyr and his associates sought to argue that biological superiority and inferiority was natural and ineradicable. They also argued in favour the biological basis of culture, encouraging the view that apartheid's Bantustans were the natural fulfilment of underlying cultural and ethnic differences. This idea was picked up and developed in the thinking of leading volkekundiges like P.J. Coertze. A range of intellectuals and activists, some on the margins of academia, others with permanent positions, mobilised these ideas in an attempt to justify apartheid and to position support for apartheid South Africa, along with Rhodesia, as part of a broader defence of white supremacy. The term 'racial irredentism' is used to signal how the new scientific racists sought to recover and reconfigure the intellectual territory of prewar scientific racism. <![CDATA[<b>Designing knowledge in postcolonial Africa: A South African abroad</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In 1958 the young artist Selby Mvusi left South Africa to study in the United States. Over the next decade Mvusi travelled the byways of the international art history and African Studies communities presenting papers, arguing against convention and plotting a new path for postcolonial African creativity. This article considers Mvusi's trajectory from teacher to painter to instructor and theorist of industrial design. Mvusi rejected both conventional art historical trends that condemned African modernism and the conservatism that inhered under the guise of national culture across the continent. He sought instead to reinterpret 'tradition' as an open and flexible chain of connection to the past, which extended into an unknown future; Mvusi saw industrial design as the best way forward for African creativity. The article concludes by examining his role in the founding of the University of Nairobi industrial design programme in the mid-1960s. <![CDATA[<b>Marriage, Science, and Secret Intelligence in the life of Rudyerd Boulton (1901-1983): An American in Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es W. Rudyerd Boulton was a museum ornithologist in New York, Pittsburgh and Chicago who became a specialist in the birds of Africa, notably Angola. He participated in several expeditions to Africa and the Americas, but published little. With the onset of World War II, he joined the newly formed US intelligence and espionage agency, the Office of Strategic Services. He became head of the Secret Intelligence desk for Africa and was connected to the top-secret import of Congolese uranium for atomic bomb development. His postwar career remains largely classified, but in 1953 he was employed in a personnel office of the Central Intelligence Agency. Retired in 1958, he then moved to Southern Rhodesia, where he managed the Atlantica Foundation, an organisation of his own making, which appeared to have extensive funding of unknown origins. Boulton spent the rest of his life on his 'ecological research station', a farm outside Salisbury that he offered to American and Rhodesian scientists as a research base. A retired CIA official who moved to Africa during decolonisation is inherently suspicious. Despite exhaustive efforts, Boultons continuing connection to Washington could not be documented. In fact, several indications - including his own managerial shortcomings - argue against the conclusion that he moved to Africa as a CIA plant. This paper provides an alternative explanation for his relocation, that it was the organic culmination of decades of self-construction effected through three marriages to accomplished women, two of whom were wealthy. Through his partnerships with Laura Craytor, Inez Cunningham Stark, and Louise Rehm, he developed into an expert on African nature, a liberal on American racial matters, and a wealthy patron of scientific work. Evidence of Boultons intelligence gathering may yet turn up, but for now the intimate politics of his life provides a better way to explain his relocation to Africa. Although American interests cannot explain his presence, his American origins mattered in that his African retirement was based on wealth, prestige and racial privilege gained in that country. <![CDATA[<b>The micro-politics of macromolecules in the taxonomy and restoration of Quaggas</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Quaggas, partially striped zebras from the Karoo, were a distinctive component of the South African fauna. They had dark stripes on their faces, necks and fore-bodies. Otherwise their bodies were unstriped, and the background colour of both the striped and unstriped upper parts of their bodies was chestnut. They were hunted extensively, and in the nineteenth century were increasingly excluded from grazing land and water. The Game Amendment Act of the Government of the Cape of Good Hope was intended to protect quaggas, as well as other fauna, but by the time of its passage in 1886 they were already extinct. Quaggas were given the binomial name Equus quagga in the eighteenth century and many viewed them as a species distinct from plains zebras. However, in 1984 the first DNA sequencing of an extinct organism demonstrated that quaggas were not a separate species but a subspecies of the plains zebra. This revised taxonomy made possible the Quagga Project in which selective breeding from plains zebras has resulted in animals termed 'Rau quaggas' whose bodies have reduced striping but which lack the chestnut background colour that is evident in most paintings of living quaggas. Rau quaggas now live in captivity in several locations in South Africa, and could help restore the ecology of damaged environments where quaggas once roamed. Both quagga DNA and the Quagga Project can be considered as 'boundary objects' that bring together a heterogeneous variety of stakeholders including scientists and hunters, nature lovers and commercial organisations. The successful micro-politics of the Quagga Project in negotiating with different bodies and in obtaining funding from diverse sources provides a model that could be emulated by conservation bodies. <![CDATA[<b>Life choices and South African biography</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Quaggas, partially striped zebras from the Karoo, were a distinctive component of the South African fauna. They had dark stripes on their faces, necks and fore-bodies. Otherwise their bodies were unstriped, and the background colour of both the striped and unstriped upper parts of their bodies was chestnut. They were hunted extensively, and in the nineteenth century were increasingly excluded from grazing land and water. The Game Amendment Act of the Government of the Cape of Good Hope was intended to protect quaggas, as well as other fauna, but by the time of its passage in 1886 they were already extinct. Quaggas were given the binomial name Equus quagga in the eighteenth century and many viewed them as a species distinct from plains zebras. However, in 1984 the first DNA sequencing of an extinct organism demonstrated that quaggas were not a separate species but a subspecies of the plains zebra. This revised taxonomy made possible the Quagga Project in which selective breeding from plains zebras has resulted in animals termed 'Rau quaggas' whose bodies have reduced striping but which lack the chestnut background colour that is evident in most paintings of living quaggas. Rau quaggas now live in captivity in several locations in South Africa, and could help restore the ecology of damaged environments where quaggas once roamed. Both quagga DNA and the Quagga Project can be considered as 'boundary objects' that bring together a heterogeneous variety of stakeholders including scientists and hunters, nature lovers and commercial organisations. The successful micro-politics of the Quagga Project in negotiating with different bodies and in obtaining funding from diverse sources provides a model that could be emulated by conservation bodies. <![CDATA[<i>Improvising Medicine: An African Cancer Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic</i>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Quaggas, partially striped zebras from the Karoo, were a distinctive component of the South African fauna. They had dark stripes on their faces, necks and fore-bodies. Otherwise their bodies were unstriped, and the background colour of both the striped and unstriped upper parts of their bodies was chestnut. They were hunted extensively, and in the nineteenth century were increasingly excluded from grazing land and water. The Game Amendment Act of the Government of the Cape of Good Hope was intended to protect quaggas, as well as other fauna, but by the time of its passage in 1886 they were already extinct. Quaggas were given the binomial name Equus quagga in the eighteenth century and many viewed them as a species distinct from plains zebras. However, in 1984 the first DNA sequencing of an extinct organism demonstrated that quaggas were not a separate species but a subspecies of the plains zebra. This revised taxonomy made possible the Quagga Project in which selective breeding from plains zebras has resulted in animals termed 'Rau quaggas' whose bodies have reduced striping but which lack the chestnut background colour that is evident in most paintings of living quaggas. Rau quaggas now live in captivity in several locations in South Africa, and could help restore the ecology of damaged environments where quaggas once roamed. Both quagga DNA and the Quagga Project can be considered as 'boundary objects' that bring together a heterogeneous variety of stakeholders including scientists and hunters, nature lovers and commercial organisations. The successful micro-politics of the Quagga Project in negotiating with different bodies and in obtaining funding from diverse sources provides a model that could be emulated by conservation bodies. <![CDATA[<i>In Step with the Times: Mapiko Masquerades of Mozambique</i>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-01902015000100016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Quaggas, partially striped zebras from the Karoo, were a distinctive component of the South African fauna. They had dark stripes on their faces, necks and fore-bodies. Otherwise their bodies were unstriped, and the background colour of both the striped and unstriped upper parts of their bodies was chestnut. They were hunted extensively, and in the nineteenth century were increasingly excluded from grazing land and water. The Game Amendment Act of the Government of the Cape of Good Hope was intended to protect quaggas, as well as other fauna, but by the time of its passage in 1886 they were already extinct. Quaggas were given the binomial name Equus quagga in the eighteenth century and many viewed them as a species distinct from plains zebras. However, in 1984 the first DNA sequencing of an extinct organism demonstrated that quaggas were not a separate species but a subspecies of the plains zebra. This revised taxonomy made possible the Quagga Project in which selective breeding from plains zebras has resulted in animals termed 'Rau quaggas' whose bodies have reduced striping but which lack the chestnut background colour that is evident in most paintings of living quaggas. Rau quaggas now live in captivity in several locations in South Africa, and could help restore the ecology of damaged environments where quaggas once roamed. Both quagga DNA and the Quagga Project can be considered as 'boundary objects' that bring together a heterogeneous variety of stakeholders including scientists and hunters, nature lovers and commercial organisations. The successful micro-politics of the Quagga Project in negotiating with different bodies and in obtaining funding from diverse sources provides a model that could be emulated by conservation bodies.