WP242 Zombie landscapes: Apartheid traces in the discourses of young South Africans

Bock & Stroud
Collection: Key words ,


This paper explores how the spatiality of South Africa?s apartheid regime remains a structuring motif in the way young South Africans perceive and talk about place and space, despite that fact that apartheid officially ?ended? in 1994.? Illustrating our argument with data collected in focus groups at the University of the Western Cape, we refer to such constellations of place and subjectivities as a ‘zombie landscape’ in the sense that the ‘undead’ and highly racialized ways of speaking about space and place continue to ‘haunt’ the present. We develop our argument using a mesh of concepts that link the imagining of place to the formation of intergenerational subjectivity. First, we use a notion of trace in order to conceptualize how place is imagined out of the circulation of memories of apartheid and fragments of experience. Secondly, in order to further interrogate how place engages the formation of subjectivity, we turn to a post-humanist expansion of Du Bois’ model of stance-subjectivity. And thirdly, we attempt to account for the longue duree of the trope of apartheid as place by discussing how a Foucauldian subjectification can be reconciled with a posthumanist Freudian notion of condensation. We conclude by suggesting that this approach to landscapes of the imagination has the potential to inform new research directions in Linguistic Landscapes, particularly towards a post-humanist perspective.