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Living on Edge: New Perspectives on Anxiety, Refuge and Colonialism in Southern Africa

King, R; (2017) Living on Edge: New Perspectives on Anxiety, Refuge and Colonialism in Southern Africa. Cambridge Archaeological Journal , 27 (3) pp. 533-551. 10.1017/S0959774317000312. Green open access

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Abstract

Archaeologies of colonialism have have called for exploring the culturally dynamic entanglements of people and objects while acknowledging the violence that accompanied these entanglements. Heeding these calls requires attention to how the state and state power were materialized, particularly in settler colonies where state apparatuses advanced unevenly, insidiously and clumsily. Here, I explore how the (mis)understandings and (mis)apprehensions of people and places that accompanied the halting expansion of colonial frontiers were materialized. Focusing on southern Africa's Highveld and Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains, I offer anxiety as a framework for conceiving of colonialisms as epistemic encounters: processes of ‘making sense’ of new people, things and places based on material practices, empirical experience and desire. Through a narrative of the nineteenth-century Maloti-Drakensberg told with archival, archaeological and ethnographic materials, I revisit a longstanding trope of southern African archaeology and historiography: refugia from social distress. I argue that refuge can be taken as a sense-making practice rather than as reaction to stress. I close with thoughts on what an anxiety framework can offer the still-developing field of African historical archaeology.

Type: Article
Title: Living on Edge: New Perspectives on Anxiety, Refuge and Colonialism in Southern Africa
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0959774317000312
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774317000312
Language: English
Additional information: © McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2017. This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Anxiety, resistance, southern Africa, colonialism, Maloti-Drakensberg
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10024581
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