Becoming Worthy Ancestors

Archive, Public Deliberation and Identity in South Africa
Contributor(s): , , , , , , ,
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Dimensions and Pages: 210 x 130 mm, 192 pp
  • EAN: 9781868145324
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 290.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 34.95

Why does it matter that nations should care for their archives, and that they should develop a sense of shared identity? And why should these processes take place in the
public domain? How can nations possibly speak about a shared sense of identity in pluralistic societies where individuals and groups have multiple identities? And how can
such conversations be given relevance in public discussions of reconciliation and development in South Africa?

These are the issues that the Public Conversations lecture series – an initiative of the Constitution of Public Intellectual Life Project at Wits University – proceeded from in 2006. Five years later, cross currents in contemporary South Africa have made the resumption of a public debate to clarify the meanings of identity and citizenship even more imperative, and an understanding of ‘archive’ even more urgent.

The 2006 lectures were subsequently collected, resulting in this volume which takes its title from Weber’s point, elaborated on in the chapter by Benedict Anderson, that the
future asks us to be worthy ancestors to the yet unborn. The book, as did the lecture series, aims to reach a broad and informed reading public because the topic is still of pressing interest in contemporary public discourse. In a changed (and, some might say, degraded) environment of public dialogue, the editor hopes to inspire a re-thinking of the very essence of what it means to be a citizen of South Africa.

Becoming Worthy Ancestors aims to make accessible the theoretically informed, sometimes highly academic work of its various contributors. With chapters from high profile international and local contributors, it will be of interest to South African and international audiences. Editing for publication has further enhanced the accessibility of each speaker’s thinking without forfeiting any of its complexity, and the addition of an introductory chapter by the editor contributes to the coherence of the volume. While the target audience is the broad public, the book is based on a core of academic thinking and research.

Xolela Mangcu, previously a fellow at The Constitution of Public Intellectual Life Project, is now based at the University of Johannesburg. He is Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington D.C.

Table of Contents

Preface by Xolela Mangcu

Evidentiary genocide: intersections of race, power and the archive by Xolela Mangcu

The transmission lines of the New African Movement by Ntongela Masilela

Some do contest the assertion that I am an African by Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert

Africa in Europe, Egypt in Greece by Martin Bernal

Unconquered and insubordinate: embracing black feminist intellectual activist legacies by Pumla Dineo Gqola

Identity, politics and the archive by Kwame Anthony Appiah

The goodness of nations by Benedict Anderson

Why archive matters: archive, public deliberation and citizenship by Carolyn Hamilton

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