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Melancholia of Freedom:
Social Life in an Indian Township in South Africa
Thomas Blom Hansen

Book Description | Reviews
Introduction [in PDF format]


List of Illustrations ix
Preface and Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1
Under the Gaze: Freedom and Race after Apartheid 3
Freedom and Sovereignty after Apartheid 9
Melancholia of Freedom 15
Between Irrelevance and Irreverence: "Our Culture" after Apartheid 17
Structure of the Book 20
Methods and Material 24

CHAPTER 1 Ethnicity by Fiat: The Remaking of Indian Life in South Africa 26
The Asiatic Question 27
The New Hygienic Indian 32
Census et Censura 35
The New Indian Social Body 38
Policing the Internal Frontier 46
Containing the Bush: Crime and Vigilantes in the Age of Democratic Policing 51

CHAPTER 2 Domesticity and Cultural Intimacy 59
From Kinship to Family 59
The New Indian Woman and the Family House 64
Tongues without Speech: Caste as Language Community 74
"Our Culture" as Embarrassment 77
Cultural Intimacy and Embarrassment: Charous and Lahnees 79
Class and Charou Names 82
Performing in the Gaze: The Indian Public Sphere 84
Joke-Work on a Saturday Morning 87
Comic Belief? Laughter and Cultural Intimacy 91
Charou 4 Eva: Domesticity Lost and Refound 95

CHAPTER 3 Charous and Ravans: A Story of Mutual Nonrecognition 97
AmaKula and amaZulu on the Colonial Estates 99
Durban, January 1949: "The Largest Race Riot in the World" 102
Cato Manor and the Urban Zulu 107
The Indian "1949 Syndrome" as a Social Text 110
The Syndrome Affirmed: Inanda 1985 116
Racism's Two Bodies 119
Racial Practice, Indian-Style 123
Africans at Our Doorsteps 127
Somatic Anxieties 131
Nonrecognition and the Elusive Master 136

CHAPTER 4 Autonomy, Freedom, and Political Speech 142
Local Affairs and the Problem of Indian Speech 145
The House of Delhigoats 151
"Scandals Are the Foundations of the State" 155
Who Speaks for the Community? The Particular as Universalist Gesture 160
The Only Good Indian Is a Poor Indian: The ANC and the Indian Townships 163
"All the Way": On the Ways of the Tiger 167
From Tragedy to Comedy: Politics as a Form of Enjoyment 171

CHAPTER 5 Movement, Sound, and Body in the Postapartheid City 176
The Steel Cages of Modernity 177
Driving while Brown 179
(Auto)mobility in the Postapartheid City 182
Vehicular Vernacular: Visual and Sonic 185
Taxis, Charou-Style 188
Conclusion: "Indianness," African-Style 197

CHAPTER 6 The Unwieldy Fetish: Desi Fantasies, Roots Tourism, and Diasporic Desires 200
India as an Unwieldy Fetish 201
The Spiritual Homeland 203
Seeking Ancestral Roots 203
Finding Spiritual Truth 207
Catalysts of Modernity 209
Global Desi Dreamscapes: The Revival of Bollywood in South Africa 211
"What Does This Film Make of Me?" 212
Plot Summary 214
Who Are We Indians, After All? 217
Diaspora and the Unwieldy Fetish 220

CHAPTER 7 Global Hindus and Pure Muslims: Universalist Aspirations and Territorialized Lives 223
Hinduism in Translation 226
Religious Practices, Hindu Missionaries, and Cultural Purification 228
A Nervous Relationship: Contemporary Hindu Practices in the Townships 231
The Call of Global Hinduism 236
Globalized Islam and the Impurities of the Past 239
Muslim Durban 240
Deculturation and the Invention of the Pure Muslim 247
"Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz?" 252
Da'wah in the Township 256
Reaching for the Universal 259

CHAPTER 8 The Saved and the Backsliders: The Charou Soul and the Instability of Belief 261
The Fragility of the Charou Soul 266
Signs of the Spirit 269
Reconfiguring Patriarchy and Gendered Surveillance 270
On Suits and Sermons 273
Looking like Kentucky . . . 277
Race, Gender, Body 282
Between Vessel and Substance: On the Exteriority of the Soul 286

Postscript: Melancholia in the Time of the "African Personality" 290
Notes 297
References 325
Index 345

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File created: 4/21/2017

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