Event Title

Shaping Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa through Public History

Presenter Information

Moriah Schnose

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

History

Session Number

3

Location

RM 215

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Alexandru Roman

Start Date

5-21-2015 4:20 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 4:40 PM

Abstract

Since South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994, South Africans have embarked on a journey to re-shape their identity. Museums, in particular, have played a vital role in this reassessment of history. Prior to 1994, South African museums reflected primarily a Eurocentric and Afrikaans perspective. In 1994 apartheid legally ended. It has been roughly twenty-one years since apartheid was overthrown. This project intends to examine how since the end of apartheid, South African museums have undertaken the process of restructuring their exhibits and reassessing their approach to South African history. In turn, such an analysis will hopefully contribute to a broader understanding of how apartheid and post-apartheid politics have impacted South African national identity and consciousness in public history sites. Currently there is very little research done on this subject. My plan is to specifically compare how Africans’ history was portrayed in museums in South Africa, if at all, during apartheid and how that changed following its end. My hope is to use the analysis I draw from this comparison to emphasize the risk of history as a political tool and demonstrate how history can be publically distorted to to justify and promote the oppression of political and economic minorities.

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May 21st, 4:20 PM May 21st, 4:40 PM

Shaping Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa through Public History

RM 215

Since South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994, South Africans have embarked on a journey to re-shape their identity. Museums, in particular, have played a vital role in this reassessment of history. Prior to 1994, South African museums reflected primarily a Eurocentric and Afrikaans perspective. In 1994 apartheid legally ended. It has been roughly twenty-one years since apartheid was overthrown. This project intends to examine how since the end of apartheid, South African museums have undertaken the process of restructuring their exhibits and reassessing their approach to South African history. In turn, such an analysis will hopefully contribute to a broader understanding of how apartheid and post-apartheid politics have impacted South African national identity and consciousness in public history sites. Currently there is very little research done on this subject. My plan is to specifically compare how Africans’ history was portrayed in museums in South Africa, if at all, during apartheid and how that changed following its end. My hope is to use the analysis I draw from this comparison to emphasize the risk of history as a political tool and demonstrate how history can be publically distorted to to justify and promote the oppression of political and economic minorities.