Properties of Whiteness: (Post)Apartheid Geographies in Zoë Wicomb's Playing in the Light

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Abstract

This essay presents a spatial reading of Zoë Wicomb's 2006 novel, Playing in the Light. Beginning with the premise that (social and geographical) space and race have long been intertwined in South Africa, this essay assesses the numerous properties of whiteness represented in Wicomb's text. The argument plays out across three sections: The first explores race in a Cape Town's post-apartheid geography. The second section concerns the meaning of racial passing in the context of apartheid geography, wherein the status of whiteness stands as a form of property itself. The third section considers the geography of the South African pastoral tradition that Wicomb's novel alludes to and challenges; in the process, it directs our attention to the literary production of whiteness in South Africa. In all three registers, I argue, property itself -- often, the possession of land or real-estate —- has been central to the production and reproduction of South African whiteness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-371
Number of pages23
JournalSafundi
Volume12
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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