FISH Seminar 8 October 2015 – Incarceration and the (re)making of race: the Coloured community in South Africa by L. Pouthier
Incarceration and the (re)making of race
The Coloured community in South Africa
Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University
Discussant : Kelly Gillespie (Department of Anthropology/ University of the Witwatersrand)
This presentation aims at showing the dynamic ties that link the prison institution, race making and identity formation together in South Africa. It is a common feature of the French, American and South African societies that socio-economically marginalized minorities are over incarcerated in their midst. South Africa’s colonial past differs from that of France and the United States, however, in that the prison institution was paramount in the maintaining of a racialized hierarchy of political, economic and psychosocial oppression. Although Apartheid was dismantled twenty years ago and the Department of Correctional Services amended its purported mission from one of containment and retribution to one of rehabilitation and transformation, the South African prison system still mirrors and continues to shape the country’s social and racial inequalities. Drawing from studies on the French, American, and South African contexts, as well as from my own experience in the field in Cape Town, I will try to show how years of institutionalization, and the over-incarceration of poor “Coloured” men and women in South Africa today, have helped make and re-make the so-called “Coloured” identity in the Western Cape, and in South Africa as a whole.
Lucile Pouthier is a PhD candidate in Area Studies at the Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée and former student of English at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Cachan, I had the opportunity of studying at the University of Cape Town in 2009-2010, where I was introduced to South Africa’s complex past and present. My work focuses on issues of race and collective identities, more specifically that of the so-called ‘Coloured’ community in the Western Cape.
Thursday 8 October 2015, 16:00
Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, 1st floor, Braamfontein, Johannesburg