International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of the International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on Science Open and can be found here to read online. 

Racial Undertones on Violence and Human BodiesWhite Migrants’ Online Epistemologies of Insecurity and Discomfort in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Primus Tazanu


Violence and insecurity in post-apartheid South Africa are recurrent themes in online messages by white South Africans who have either migrated or wish to leave the country. These online authors position white people as victims or potential victims of crime committed by black people. It is a narrative which references apartheid as a period of safety and security, presupposing life is no longer what it used to be for white people. Through comparing the pre-1994 with the post-apartheid period and particularly emphasising that the black leadership is failing the country, the white migrants construct an epistemology – with racist undertones – of an unliveable South Africa. Narratives of black violence enacted upon white people, as well as white innocence and benevolence, are central features of the migrants’ online complaints of an unliveable South Africa which I take up as a point of focus in this article.

KEYWORDS: racism online, violence and insecurity, post-apartheid South Africa, whiteness, white South African migrants

Mothers, Cousins, Sisters, FriendsBlack South African Relations in Date My Family

Candy Sithole and Nicky Falkof


This article explores representations of black South African family structure in the popular local reality television programme Date My Family. Focusing on visual and verbal discourses, it considers the programme’s cultural relevance, presentation of social circumstances and understandings of black South African identity in relation to family structure. Within the world of Date My Family, western/European conceptions of the nuclear family, so often valorised within reality TV, are renegotiated, and families exhibit the more commonly African extended form. At the same time gender relations within these families shift away from apparently traditional modes, with female-headed households and absent fathers common. The extended families that feature in Date My Family reflect the fluidity and variability of contemporary norms of gender and family among black South Africans.

Keywords: Reality television, family, representation, South Africa, Date My Family

‘Warfare’ Pentecostalism, Poverty and Welfare Provisioning in Southwestern Nigeria

Olufikayo Kunle Oyelade and Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale


Warfare Pentecostalism entails a brand of the Pentecostal movement, which views the world in terms of evil machinations of enemies whom every individual must battle spiritually. Warfare Pentecostalism is associated with symbolic demonstrations of offensive and defensive mechanisms against the “enemy” through prayers. The warfare Pentecostal movement has been popular in Nigeria since the 1930s, and research on it has been limited to the larger spectrum of Pentecostalism and its structure, while little is known about the contribution of this brand of Pentecostalism to poverty reduction and welfare provision. Qualitative data was collected through 16 key informant interviews (KIIs), 28 in-depth interviews (IDIs), 6 Focus group discussions (FGDs) and 4 Case studies conducted at Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries (MFM), Gethsemane Prayer Ministries (GPM) and Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Lagos, Ibadan and Ilesa. The study examines the context of warfare Pentecostalism, its connection to poverty and misery and consequent spiritualist constructions and the welfare interventions provided by warfare Pentecostal churches.

Keywords: “Warfare” Pentecostalism, poverty, welfare provisioning, Southwestern Nigeria

Exploring the Dynamic Unconscious Intersubjectivity and the Raced-Self in Vertically Infected HIV-Positive Adolescents

Ruby Patel and Tanya Graham


This paper explores intrapsychic life as a site of socio-political insertion from birth. The first part of this paper engages with the psychoanalytic theory of Melanie Klein on the notion of the dynamic unconscious and the Oedipal situation as key processes in the development of the self. The paper goes on to discuss the critical contemporary position taken up by scholars who have highlighted the racialisation of the Oedipus complex and its use in justifying racial hierarchies. Furthermore, the paper engages with the unconscious as an intersubjective organising principle. Franz Fanon’s psychoanalytic framework, that deals with colonial subjectivity, is reviewed here in order to explore how the raced-self becomes imposed and internalised. The second part of the paper locates this theoretical argument within the context of HIV. Intrapsychic development, which comes to be located in our unconscious mind from birth, cannot be understood outside of specific socio-political considerations. The unique developmental challenges of HIV for those who are vertically infected cannot be taken for granted, and there must be more deliberation on the ways in which intersubjective, politically aware versions of psychoanalysis can be used to inform clinical knowledge and practice in working with vertically infected HIV-positive adolescents in South Africa.

Keywords: dynamic unconscious, Oedipus complex, raced-self, Fanon, intersubjectivity, vertical HIV-infection

(Re)imagining Mandela’s Leadership esiXhoseni

Pedro Mzileni


Much public discourse positions Nelson Mandela as a global figure who embraced Western English ideals characterised by liberal human rights and heroic individual leadership. This paper challenges that decontextualised presentation of Mandela by locating him esiXhoseni, which is his ancestral, linguistic, geographic and epistemic locality. Pulling Mandela’s leadership traits into his indigenous traditions and origins provides an opportunity to (re)imagine the philosophical and moral tools he utilised to form his personal and social sensibilities in the execution of his political responsibilities as an African freedom fighter and statesman. This study also contextualises how Mandela utilised isiXhosa as an African leadership philosophy in the struggle for social justice across his personal and political life. If we are to properly comprehend the primary influences that shaped the ontological canons of Southern African liberation struggle figures, then we must labour to understand how their local and indigenous African languages constructed their political consciousness, principles, ethics, ideals, moral codes and leadership qualities.

Keywords: isiXhosa, Qunu, Mandela, African leadership, liberation movements


Authoritarian Power and Populist Resistance

The Democratic Route to Authoritarianism

Ranabir Samaddar

Book Review

Review of Liberating Masculinities

Reviewed by: Ayanda Myeza

Introduction: (Re)Imagining Liberations: Institutionalised Despair*Critical Hope

William Mpofu

William Jethro Mpofu is a researcher in the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a founding member of the Africa Decolonial Research Network. His main research interest is decoloniality, especially the philosophy of liberation.


“What the Body Can Do”: Creating Space for Critical Hope through Affective Encounters with a Different Kind of Otherness

Miki Flockemann


My aim here is to use the notion of critical hope as a lens for exploring how a dramaturgy of Affect can create spaces for challenging the on-going marginalization resulting from the intersection of disability, race and access in the context of South Africa’s much-lauded “inclusive” constitution. Given that the body, especially the black and disabled body, has been seen as a site marked by physical and structural violence, a focus on what the body can do, rather than how it is seen, has particular relevance for exploring the work of Unmute, the first integrated dance company in South Africa to incorporate differently abled dancers. This discussion will take into account the effects generated by the affective performance techniques employed, as well as the discomfort experienced by spectators when familiar perceptions are disrupted. It will be argued that these disruptions have a liberatory dimension in that they can trigger cognitive shifts which are productive for conceptualizing critical hope.

Keywords: affect, critical hope, performance, disability, embodiment


(Re)considering the Rainbow

Nyx McLean


This article seeks to interrogate the Rainbow Nation Project and its ties to the LGBTIAQ movement in post-1994 South Africa. In particular, the paper looks at Joburg Pride between 1990 and 2013, and explores the fragmentation of Pride, and how this was tied up with the Rainbow Nation project. Joburg Pride is South Africa’s longest running Pride event, and is unique in that it was the first LGBTIAQ Pride march in South Africa at a time when there were no legal protections for lesbian and gay South Africans The paper proposes that the LGBTIAQ community in South Africa were strategically granted rights in order to further the Rainbow Nation project, and through this came to participate in the erasure of the pain and violence experienced by South Africans under apartheid rule. This research was conducted through a critical discourse analysis of Exit articles, Exit is South Africa’s longest
running gay newspaper. In addition, interviews were conducted with people
involved in the organizing of Joburg Pride and Johannesburg People’s Pride.

Keywords: LGBTIAQ, Rainbow Nation, nation building, Joburg Pride


History, Naming and Intellectualism in the #FeesMustFall Protests

Quraysha Ismail Sooliman


This paper considers the black student as an emerging representative of the public intellectual’s confrontation with history, institutional culture and language in the #FMF student protests. It pursues the manifestation of this confrontation through an analysis of specific episodes of articulation and events where the student as public intellectual encounters an academia that is incapable of comprehending or conceptualizing their demands. The protests animated the emerging black student public intellectual’s projection into being and their confrontation with history, violence and academia. This paper examines the collaboration between the state and university as mechanisms of control to preserve the system and structure of neo-apartheid in a post-1994 South African society. I argue that the fixation with subjective violence, detracted from the greater, yet hidden narrative—that of the possibility of violence as ubiquitous in human social relations. Violence is also used to negate power. In confronting a powerful racist history and systems of racism, the #Fallists reference to the on-going complex levels of violence lived as a reality by black South Africans, could be understood as a form of social power to unchain the forced consensus that has been perpetuated around black violence and black ineptitude.

Keywords: student protests, black activists, public intellectual naming, identity

K. Sello Duiker and the Possibility of a Different Future in The Quiet Violence of Dreams

Manosa Nthunya


In this paper I argue that K. Sello Duiker’s novel The Quiet Violence of Dreams (2001) invites readers to think differently about the future and its inherently unknown possibilities. It will argue that even though Lee Edelman has written in No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004) that futurity is fundamentally permeated with notions of heteronormativity, that the future can in fact still be understood outside this framework. It will make use of José Esteban Muñoz’s understanding of futurity in Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009) to argue that queerness is that which has not yet happened. Duiker’s novel is preoccupied with the question of the future and its possibilities within a post-apartheid setting. Even though its protagonist, Tshepo, has a deeply traumatic history, the events and the people that he comes across challenge his perception of himself as he begins to reimagine what it means to be human in a post-colonial setting.

Keywords: trauma, history, queer, futurity


Teachers’ Discourse on English Language Teaching: Faces of Resistance and Neo-colonialism

Gilberto Alves Araujo


This work analyzes discursive representations within Tocantinian teachers’ enunciations regarding themselves and the exercise of their teaching role, as well as English teaching-learning and its insertion in school. Considering our incursion through French Discourse Analysis we employ conceptions of forgetting, subjecting, ideological and discursive formations, according to Michel Pêcheux. In addition, we use analytical-methodological procedures by Eni Orlandi. Our investigation indicates that prestige and social status, often assigned to English language (EL), offer significant space to the ideas of struggle and suffering, whereas the sense of accomplishment, self-fulfillment and financial gains tend to be silenced. Teachers find the reasons for EL teaching through a presumed intellectual superiority, a linguistic utilitarianism and the economic system, while averting this same teaching from a propaedeutic function. Furthermore, a “unifying” discourse, which is a component of Brazilian imaginary, projects teachers as constant sufferers and strugglers. There is also a strong tendency, by teachers, towards reproducing learners’ discourse about EL as a beautiful and difficult language. This image contrasts with an undervalued and underestimated position that teachers believe is assigned to EL in the school curriculum.

Keywords: discourse, English language, resistance, teachers, curriculum


Delinking from Victimhood and Other Rivalries

Madina Tlostanova


Contemporary political, economic and social institutions have no adequate tools to deal with diversity and tend to see it as a challenge. The unresolved evils of modernity that neoliberal globalization attempted to lacquer in its first triumphant years, have reemerged with full force confirming the discriminatory nature of the global culture, its unfair conditions of inclusion through erasing identities or through their commercialization. The overwhelming negative sensibility marking the present darker stage of neoliberal globalization, is not a brotherhood but merely a condition of fellow sufferers who have not fully realized that we are in the same boat and need to cooperate rather than compete to survive. The opinion article addresses the danger of multiplying victimhood rivalries as a manifestation of the modern/colonial agonistics. This position replaces politics with manipulative moral zeal and withdraws the dimension of the future as a collective existential condition from the horizon. Delinking from victimhood rivalries is a difficult but urgent task of transcending modernity and looking for other options and other worlds intricately correlating and interacting in a complex pluriverse.

Keywords: decoloniality, agonistics, dewesternization


Review of Phakama: Making Participatory Performance

Petro Janse van Vuuren


This is a book review of a collection of case studies, interviews, descriptions of exercises and philosophical writing about Phakama, a collaborative, participant-centered and intercultural theatre project for young people. The project originated in Johannesburg, South Africa, and spread across the country and the world to impact young people, their facilitators and their communities from 1996 to 2016. The review discusses the concept of democracy, as represented in the book, and its effect on the practices revealed in its pages. These practices are characterized by two principles that are discussed, with examples, in the review: the principles of mutual dependence and of boundary crossing. Without glossing over the difficulties that may come with such work, freely discussing and acknowledging difficult moments of intercultural interaction, Phakama, the book and the movement, is a testament to 20 years of ground-breaking theatre work that forges a way of working that exemplifies a democratic orientation, giving voice to a kaleidoscope of perspectives.

Keywords: participatory performance, applied drama and theatre, democracy, democratic practice




Army of Ravens

Drucilla Cornell

Negritude is one of the most controversial and misunderstood movements, starting with Jean-Paul Sartre’s misguided discussion of the significance of Negritude in Black Orpheus. In this article, I will argue that Negritude is not opposed in any way to a non-racialized socialism. Indeed, as the contemporary philosopher Lewis Gordon has powerfully argued, Negritude and other forms of Black consciousness are absolutely crucial to the overcoming of racism and colonization and to attempt to have ideals of economic transformation that do not fall back into the worst forms of racism. At the heart of this debate about the significance of Negritude—all the poets were socialists—is the question of whether or not there is African philosophy and whether African philosophy has made a significant contribution to rethinking socialism as ethical as well as economic. This article strongly argues that African philosophy demands that we shift our understanding of how and why socialism is an ethical aspiration and is rooted in an ontology of rhythmic bodies.

Keywords: Negritude, poetry, socialism, liberation, revolution, decolonization

It Is About Time: Interracial Couples and Racialized Wait Times in Dining

Heather Dalmage

In this article, I explore “wait time” as a form of racial border patrolling experienced by interracial couples when they dine out. I am framing “wait time” as something imposed and intentional to exclude these couples. When interracial couples are together, they are conspicuous reminders that the borders of whiteness are permeable. Racial borders, upheld through legal and extra legal means, include the contested, patrolled and often hostile spaces near the colour line. Interracial couples dining in restaurants across the globe report in their online post-dining reviews that they experienced comparatively long wait times to be both being seated and served. They report seeing other patrons not being made to wait while they are made to wait. Much of the literature on wait time during leisure assumes a colour-blind backdrop. Exploring the historical construction of race, specifically racial borders, provides the context for understanding why interracial couples are made to wait. I begin with an overview of the historical construction and reinforcing of “exclusionary” borders of whiteness. Next, I outline digital discourse analysis and the context of the data collection: TripAdvisor. Finally, I analyze the TripAdvisor reviews written by interracial couples. Analysis of the reviews highlighting the border patrolling of these couples is pervasive: “Wait time,” poor service, and being rushed out are three ways interracial couples’ experience being excluded. At stake is not just the time lost or the energy of dealing with negative emotions associated with racialized waiting, at stake is humanity.

Keywords: TripAdvisor interracial border patrolling racial borders “wait time,” time racial categories whiteness

Cultural Villages and Their Idea of South Africa: A Decolonial Critique

Morgan Ndlovu

Cultural villages are currently one of the most popular tourism attractions in South Africa, but in spite of their popularity, the villages also face a barrage of criticisms leveled against the manner in which they represent culture and identity, as well as their political economy. Thus, the criticisms leveled against the cultural villages range from that they represent myths instead of culture to that they stage identity and culture in an essentialist and ahistorical manner as though culture is circumscribed and “frozen in time.” In the context of crafting a cohesive South African national identity, the question that arises in light of the above criticism leveled against the cultural villages is that of: To what extent does their representation of culture and identity contribute to the making of an inclusive and cohesive South African national identity? This question is important not only because cultural representations such as the cultural villages of South Africa serve as mirrors of how people imagine themselves and their relationship with others but also because such representation can neither negate nor enhance the idea of constructing a new identity. In this article, I examine both the negative and positive contributions of the cultural village project to the idea of an inclusive and cohesive South Africa. Thus, I deploy the case study of PheZulu Safari Park and Lesedi cultural villages to examine the extent to which the construction of cultural villages enhances and/or negates the idea of a cohesive national identity in South Africa.

Keywords: cultural village, identity, culture, social cohesion, nationhood, South Africa

Raced Repetition: Perpetual Paralysis or Paradoxical Promise?

Garth Stevens

This article engages with key contemporary questions about the extent to which the obstinacy of racial formation processes, as well as the apparent global resurgence of raced thinking, represent a paralysis of the global anti-racist project or signal an important analytic opportunity for revitalising critical race scholarship and anti-racist praxis. To this end, it is incumbent upon critical race scholars and practitioners to take stock of their historical, current and future contributions to addressing the vexing nature of race and racism. The article mobilises three main illustrative arguments in this regard. First, we have to deploy our analytic tools more thoughtfully and robustly in the service of understanding the current historical period in which race seems to have an infinite elasticity globally as such analyses have a great deal to offer us in thinking through the contemporary relationships between race, materiality, histories, politics and populism. Second, writing from South Africa, the article focuses on the historically racialised nature of the social formation as an exemplar of how the deployment of race and resistance to it did not simply reflect an unprocessed repetition compulsion of the raced binary over time but actually represented incremental gains for a productively antagonistic and adversarial anti-racist political project. Third, the article also surfaces alternative ways of approaching the question of race today, by examining elements of the post-race paradigm, raced embodiment and affectivity, and more diverse conceptions of what it means to be human as part of the anti-racist project. The article concludes that thoughtful analyses of the histories of anti-racist praxis, contemporary manifestations of race and racism, and an openness to new approaches to addressing the histories and continued legacies of race are paradoxically promising and hopeful in a seemingly despairing time when race thinking seems to be on the ascension once more.

Keywords: race, racial formation, racism, populism, anti-racism, critical race scholarship, South Africa, post-race paradigm, affect, embodiment, human, decoloniality

Paths to a “Toolbox for Social Change”—Interactions Between Art and Continuing Education in the Context of Critical Diversity Literacy

Ulla Klingovsky and Georges Pfründer

The aim of this article is to systematise some of the findings that have emerged in the context of an international research cooperation between the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and the School of Education at the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. The objective of this collaboration is to generate research-based formats of continuing education concerning Critical Diversity Literacy activated by art. In this article, Critical Diversity Literacy is considered as a founding principle for a process towards an understanding of oneself and of the world, within the framework of global tensions and conflict situations. Adult and continuing education can successfully assist with framing the content and designing the concepts for such developmental spaces. Art and theatre education are understood as a catalysing force to open up new social imaginations. By interweaving these three disciplines, the intention is to create a body of theory and informed practice, the core components of which will be illustrated in this article. We begin by outlining the concept of Critical Diversity Literacy established by Melissa Steyn. We shall then go on to demonstrate how this concept is enriched by educational theory. As the third step—informed by artistic theory and practice—the fundamentals and tools (“Toolbox”) for continuing education arrangements will be presented, together with an exposition of the status of knowledge to date: the key challenge is the configuration of “aesthetic spaces” that can lead to “social imaginations,” to be designed in the form of “contact zones.”

Keywords: Critical Diversity Literacy, arts education, adult and further education, contact zones, social imagination

German Rightwingization as the New Normal? Tales of Becoming

Antje Schuhmann

This text explores the politics of becoming rightwing amongst what is considered normal German middle class life. The socio-political and historic context of the left losing its subcultural hegemony is narrated as transgenerational societal shift in the light of a perceived masculine fragility. Illustrated through wo middleclass men whose becoming rightwing is driven by a plethora of anxieties manifesting at the intersection of their public/private lives; anxieties which are reaching from immigration to gender madness, and which are analyzed as contradictory but also mutually constituting. Rather than interpreting the widespread righwingizsation through a narrow economic focus this text argues to read the politics of becoming rightwing as a highly intersectional project.

Keywords: Middleclass masculinity, normalization of being rightwing, psychoanalytic cultural theory


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