History after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa by Annie E. CoombesHistory after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa by Annie E. Coombes

History after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa

byAnnie E. Coombes

Paperback | November 1, 2003

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The democratic election of Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa in 1994 marked the demise of apartheid and the beginning of a new struggle to define the nation's past. "History after Apartheid" analyzes how, in the midst of the momentous shift to an inclusive democracy, South Africa's visual and material culture represented the past while at the same time contributing to the process of social transformation. Considering attempts to invent and recover historical icons and narratives, art historian Annie E. Coombes examines how strategies for embodying different models of historical knowledge and experience are negotiated in public culture--in monuments, museums, and contemporary fine art.

"History after Apartheid "explores the dilemmas posed by a wide range of visual and material culture including key South African heritage sites. How prominent should Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress be in the museum at the infamous political prison on Robben Island? How should the postapartheid government deal with the Voortrekker Monument mythologizing the Boer Trek of 1838? Coombes highlights the contradictory investment in these sites among competing constituencies and the tensions involved in the rush to produce new histories for the "new" South Africa.

She reveals how artists and museum officials struggled to adequately represent painful and difficult histories ignored or disavowed under apartheid, including slavery, homelessness, and the attempted destruction of KhoiSan hunter-gatherers. Describing how contemporary South African artists address historical memory and the ambiguities uncovered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Coombes illuminates a body of workdedicated to the struggle to simultaneously remember the past and move forward into the future.

Title:History after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South AfricaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 0.95 × 6.16 × 8.98 inPublished:November 1, 2003Publisher:Duke University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0822330725

ISBN - 13:9780822330721

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Editorial Reviews

"[A] timely and important engagement with the role that visual and material culture has played, and continues to play, in the country's transformation in the post-apartheid era. . . . "History After Apartheid" is an engaging read, quite generously illustrated with photographs of the sites under discussion. . . . While the work deals specifically with issues around public memory in South Africa, the issues it examines are more broadly relevant to any society in transition. The work is very accessible and should also have wider appeal to scholars in public history, sociology, politics and visual culture." --Barbara Russell, "Eras"