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Transitioning Racial States and Remagined Race: Understanding Dynamic Racial Identities among "Coloured" South Africans- LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

Date and Time

Thursday, February 21, 2019
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.


  • Kirkhof Center » RM 2215/2216


Whitney Pirtle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology

University of California, Merced

GVSU alumna class of 2008


Within the last half century, South Africa shifted from being led by a white-minority apartheid government that used the ideology of white supremacy to rule and divide the nation, to a black-majority democratic system based on non-racialism and claims to be, as described by the late Nelson Mandela, “a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.” But South Africans and scholars alike have questioned, what value does race continue to have in the rainbow nation? This project explores this question by focusing attention on one, often overlooked, South African racial group – coloured South Africans – who, unlike white or black South Africans, have never obtained numerical, economic, or political power. The apartheid racial state placed coloureds in a liminal position between the privileged whites and subjugated blacks, and my analysis seek to uncover the place of coloureds in the racial schema today. First using content analysis of legislation, I interrogate the process of racial re- and de-formation of the coloured category by the state. I then use qualitative interview data to explore whether and how coloureds are crafting new categories and racial meanings within the constraints of post-apartheid racial state.


Jennifer Stewart

Department of Sociology




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