Race Otherwise

Forging a New Humanism for South Africa
Author(s):
  • Publication Date: Aug 2017
  • Dimensions and Pages: 216 x 140mm; 205pp' Available in paperback and ebook
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-058-9
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 350.00

Race Otherwise brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about how
race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social. It is not without indignation, and
not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid
of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work
of thinking.’
– Crain Soudien, CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

 

‘People from different parts of the world ask ‘what mix’ I am.
Which would you prefer? Salt and vinegar or cinnamon and sugar?
Neither one of my parents was black Black. Neither one of them was
white White. I am not half-and-half.’
(from Chapter 1, ‘This Blackness’)

How is ‘race’ determined? Is it your DNA? The community that you were raised in? The way others see you or the way you see yourself?

In Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa Zimitri Erasmus questions the notion that one can know race with one’s eyes, with racial categories and with genetic ancestry tests. She moves between the intimate probing of racial identities as we experience them individually, and analysis of the global historical forces that have created these identities and woven them into our thinking about what it means to be ‘human’.

Starting from her own family’s journeys through regions of the world and ascribed racial identities, she develops her argument about how it is possible to recognise the pervasiveness of race thinking without submitting to its power. Drawing on the theoretical work of Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter and others, Erasmus argues for a new way of ‘coming to know otherwise’, of seeing the boundaries between racial identities as thresholds to be crossed, through politically charged acts of imagination and love.

Key points
• A deeply personal, but also philosophical probing into what ‘race’ means. • The author is known for her seminal work, Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001).
• This important monograph on ‘race’ draws on decolonial theory from the Global South.

Appreciations
Foreword by Crain Soudien
Prelude
1 This Blackness
2 A Conversation
3 The Look
4 The Category
5 The Gene
6 Beginnings
7 Open closure
References
Index

Zimitri Erasmus is a professor of Sociology in the department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001) and in 2010 she was a UCT-Harvard Mandela Mellon Fellow. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph.

Race Otherwise brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about how
race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social. It is not without indignation, and
not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid
of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work
of thinking.’
– Crain Soudien, CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa

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