Reflections on Apartheid and the Development of South African Academic Geography

Authors: M. DeVivo*, Grand Rapids Community College
Topics: History of Geography
Keywords: history of geography, apartheid, South Africa
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

When apartheid was established by its largely Afrikaner supporters in the South African parliament in 1948, it not only made racial segregation the law, it created different social landscapes and influenced the shaping of South African academic geography. With the classification of people as White, Black, Coloured, or Asian, civil rights and opportunities for socio-economic mobility were based upon skin color, as were higher education opportunities. As a consequence, like other disciplines in South Africa throughout the 20th century, geography grew with only limited dialogue, if discourse occurred at all, among people of unlike ethnicities and backgrounds seeking to advance the field. In 1991, the codified geographical separation of races was abolished; but not only have the memories of apartheid persisted, so too has its impact on the geographic discipline. This work in progress relies heavily on interviews with South African geographers in an effort to gain some understanding of the role apartheid played in the evolution of South African academic geography.

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