The politics of living in South Africa’s urban shacklands

Kerry Chance from the University of Bergen's Department of Social Anthropology will join us for a seminar entitled "The Politics of Living in South Africa’s Urban Shacklands".

photo: LSU

This talk combines theories of liberal governance, material life, and popular politics to examine the unruly force of fire in state-citizen struggles. Tracking interactions between state agents and activist networks during South Africa’s celebrated democratic transition, I analyze how the urban poor leverage the material properties of fire to secure techno-institutional claims to energy infrastructure, and more broadly to political inclusion and economic redistribution. I highlight how fire, as a social and historical as well as a chemical process, becomes a staging ground for the promise and endangerment of infrastructure. Approaching fire as intertwined with power, I argue, illuminates how those living on the margins of the city come to inhabit political roles that transform environmental and economic relationships.

Kerry Ryan Chance is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, and a Non-Resident W.E.B Du Bois Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Dr. Chance is the author of Living Politics in South Africa's Urban Shacklands, a monograph published with the University of Chicago Press, as well as multiple scholarly journal articles, most recently in Cultural Anthropology, Social Analysis, and Anthropological Quarterly.
The seminar is open to all, including bachelor and master students. No registration is required. After the seminar, drinks and snacks will be served in our lunchroom
photos: private
Published July 13, 2018 1:36 PM - Last modified Dec. 12, 2018 12:34 PM