Internal Frontiers

African Nationalism and the Indian Diaspora in Twentieth-Century South Africa
Author(s):
  • Publication Date: February 2018
  • Dimensions and Pages: 229 x 152 mm; 360pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-210-1
  • Rights: Africa
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 380.00

“This paradigm-shifting book locates a radical strain of South African nationalism in the
political firmament of postwar Durban. Deeply researched and beautifully written, Internal
Frontiers reveals how insurgent intellectuals such as Anton Lembede and Albert Luthuli,
influenced by India’s independence movement and the challenges of building solidarity with
Natal’s Indian diaspora, conceived a vision of the nation ‘from below’ that affirmed African
agency while also embracing a diverse, multi-ethnic political community.”
— Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

In this ambitious new history of the antiapartheid struggle, Jon Soske places India and the Indian diaspora at the center of the African National Congress’s development of an inclusive philosophy of nationalism. Even as Indian independence provided black South African intellectuals with new models of conceptualizing sovereignty, debates over the place of the Indian diaspora in Africa forced a reconsideration of South Africa’s internal and external boundaries, not least by the ANC thinkers—led by Albert Luthuli—centered in Durban. There, they developed a new philosophy of nationhood that affirmed South Africa’s simultaneously heterogeneous and fundamentally African character. In describing this process, Soske makes a major contribution to postcolonial and Indian Ocean studies and charts new ways of writing about African nationalism.

Preface and Acknowledgments
Note on Language

Introduction The Internal Frontier of the Nation-State

PART ONE
Chapter 1 The Racial Crucible
Economy, Stereotype, and Urban Space in Durban

Chapter 2 Beyond the “Native Question”
Xuma, Lembede, and the Event of Indian Independence

PART TWO
Chapter 3 “That Lightning That Struck”
The 1949 Durban Riots and the Crisis of African Nationalism

Chapter 4 The Racial Politics of Home
Sex, Feminine Virtue, and the Boundaries of the Nation

PART THREE
Chapter 5 The Cosmopolitan Moment
Chief Albert Luthuli, the Defiance Campaign, and a New Aesthetics of Nation

Chapter 6 The Natal Synthesis
Inclusive Nationalism and the Unity of the ANC

Epilogue

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Jon Soske is an associate professor of history at McGill University and research associate at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of the Witwatersrand. He has coedited three books, One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories Today, Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy, and Ties That Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa.

“Ambitious and rivetingly intelligent, Internal Frontiers offers a decolonized model of
global history. Located at the intersection of South Africa’s antiapartheid struggle with
the idea of India, this book rescripts notions of race, empire, nation, diaspora, and much
more. Exquisitely written with exceptional interdisciplinary depth, it will become a model of
intellectual transnational history.”
— Isabel Hofmeyr, author of Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading

“This paradigm-shifting book locates a radical strain of South African nationalism in the
political firmament of postwar Durban. Deeply researched and beautifully written, Internal
Frontiers reveals how insurgent intellectuals such as Anton Lembede and Albert Luthuli,
influenced by India’s independence movement and the challenges of building solidarity with
Natal’s Indian diaspora, conceived a vision of the nation ‘from below’ that affirmed African
agency while also embracing a diverse, multi-ethnic political community.”
— Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“Soske’s combination of ‘high’ political narrative with material histories of class, race, and
sexuality is indispensable. This book is an extremely important counter to sentimental ideas
about social and political relations between Africans and people of South Asian descent in
South Africa during turbulent times.”
— Antoinette Burton, author of  The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British
Imperialism

 

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