This is an historical, archaeological and anthropological study of the role of the illegal diamond trade on the late 19th century Diamond Fields in South Africa. The poor visibility of the illegal diamond trade made the very suspicion of this trade a very potent one, a suspicion which came to occupy the frustrations of growing numbers of failed diggers and was directed at the public taverns and eating houses at the edges of the diggings. This dissertation examines one such space, and the sort of material culture and conduct that would have been associated with the illicit diamond trade. The surprisingly domestic and aspirational material signature at this site indicates an illicit trade that was not only imperceptible but a trade which blurred the lines between criminality and class. The shape and form of the segregated worker landscape which came to dominate the fields over the next decade were a direct response to this, not merely separating the races on the fields, but apportioning very specific and discrete domestic capacities and obligations.
These 19th century apartheid landscapes were not abstract, but emerged in the wake of specific commodity flows and architectural forms. The transformation of these built forms, and material flows, while explicitly about the eradication of illegal diamond buying, came to take on the subtle work of criminalizing non-laboring African bodies and eradicating public spaces that had previously afforded illegible or interracial transactions. The systematic erasure of the hybrid and informal registers in which public spaces of the fields had originally operated, lent finality to the criminalizing of certain laboring bodies through a complex mesh of prisons, hostels, and concentration camps.
These coercive landscapes, and their systematic shattering of personal and community histories derailed the historical continuities between early diamond rushers and the laborers which replaced them, early illicit traders and the entrepreneurial spirit so definitive of the contemporary South African informal settlements. The exclusionary force of the apartheid landscape not only criminalizes and separates the population at one historical moment, but perpetuates this exclusion by historically abstracting those same people and spaces. This dissertation, therefore, is an attempt to delineate a genealogy of outlawed spaces and communities, those hybrid zones of the early Diamond Fields which have a great resonance with the politics and entrepreneurialism of informal settlements of contemporary South Africa.
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Archaeology, Cultural anthropology, African history|
|Keywords:||Colonialism, Diamonds, Materiality, Neoliberalism, Nineteenth century, South Africa|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be