Of Revelation and Revolution, Volume 2: The Dialectics of Modernity on a South African Frontier

University of Chicago Press, 15 févr. 2009 - 612 pages
In the second of a proposed three-volume study, John and Jean Comaroff continue their exploration of colonial evangelism and modernity in South Africa. Moving beyond the opening moments of the encounter between the British Nonconformist missions and the Southern Tswana peoples, Of Revelation and Revolution, Volume II, explores the complex transactions—both epic and ordinary—among the various dramatis personae along this colonial frontier.

The Comaroffs trace many of the major themes of twentieth-century South African history back to these formative encounters. The relationship between the British evangelists and the Southern Tswana engendered complex exchanges of goods, signs, and cultural markers that shaped not only African existence but also bourgeois modernity "back home" in England. We see, in this volume, how the colonial attempt to "civilize" Africa set in motion a dialectical process that refashioned the everyday lives of all those drawn into its purview, creating hybrid cultural forms and potent global forces which persist in the postcolonial age.

This fascinating study shows how the initiatives of the colonial missions collided with local traditions, giving rise to new cultural practices, new patterns of production and consumption, new senses of style and beauty, and new forms of class distinction and ethnicity. As noted by reviewers of the first volume, the Comaroffs have succeeded in providing a model for the study of colonial encounters. By insisting on its dialectical nature, they demonstrate that colonialism can no longer be seen as a one-sided relationship between the conquering and the conquered. It is, rather, a complex system of reciprocal determinations, one whose legacy is very much with us today.

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Table des matières

1 Introduction
The Domestication of the Sacred Word
Toward a New African Genesis
Of Markets Money and Value
The Empires Old Clothes
Architecture Interiority Domesticity
Saving the Sould by Tending the Flesh
Rights Identities Moral Communities
9 Conclusion
Droits d'auteur

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Fréquemment cités

Page 281 - Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low ; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Page 71 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first• fruits of his creatures.
Page 505 - Give a man the secure possession of a bleak rock, and he will turn it into a garden; give him a nine years' lease of a garden, and he will convert it into a desert.
Page 324 - Africa still lies in her blood. She wants our missionaries, our schoolmasters, our Bibles — all the machinery we possess, for ameliorating her wretched condition. Shall we, with a remedy that may safely be applied, neglect to heal her wounds ? Shall we, on whom the lamp of life shines, refuse to disperse her darkness...
Page 500 - Do we then make void the law through faith ? God forbid : yea, we establish the law.
Page 314 - We are all born savages, whether we are brought into the world in the populous city or in the lonely desert. It is the discipline of education, and the circumstances under which we are placed, which create the difference between the rude barbarian and the polished citizen — the listless savage and the man of commercial enterprise — the man of the woods and the literary recluse.
Page 116 - Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
Page 170 - is the root of all evil;" but not the thing itself. The fault does not lie in the money, but in them that use it. It may be used ill: And what may not? But it may likewise be used well: It is full as applicable to the best, as to the worst uses. It is of unspeakable service to all civilized nations, in all the common affairs of life: It is a most compendious instrument of transacting all manner of business, and (if we use it according to Christian wisdom) of doing all manner of good. It is true,...
Page 241 - FASHIONS. 335 or duffel jacket, with the sleeves of different colours, or of fine printed cotton. Gowns were seen like Joseph's coat of many colours, and dresses of such fantastic shapes, as were calculated to excite a smile in the gravest of us.

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