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The Politics of Evil

The Politics of Evil
Magic, State Power and the Political Imagination in South Africa

$113.00 (C)

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Part of African Studies

  • Date Published: November 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521817219

$ 113.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • South Africa historian Clifton Crais combines a cultural history of state formation with an analysis of African conceptions of power and the moral problem of evil. He explores the role of ideas held by Africans and Europeans in shaping political society throughout South Africa's history. He demonstrates how Africans contested one of the great evils of the twentieth century: apartheid. Crais discusses colonialism, resistance, nationalism, violence, and the challenges to creating democracy.


    • Winner of the Ohio Academy of History Book Prize 2004

    Reviews & endorsements

    "The Politics of Evil is a pathbreaking book, sure to generate discussion among historians of South Africa." History: Reviews of New Books

    "This innovative new book broadens South African political history in vital ways by allowing historical African ideas and practices to help determine what constitutes politics. The result is a vivid exploration of the cross-cultural production of an authoritarian colonial order. The value of The Politics of Evil lies in the [Clifton Crais's] determination to ground this rich political imagination in the dynamism of material life. Meticulously researched, convincingly argued, and engagingly written, The Politics of Evil will, no doubt, stand as a landmark study in South African history and the history of colonial politics more broadly." Julie Livingston, Rutgers University

    "[T]his is a compelling meditation on several of the key forces that shaped the history of South Africa's Eastern Cape--the Ciskei and the Transkei.... Highly recommended." Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2002
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521817219
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Cultures of Conquest:
    1. The death of hope
    2. Ethnographies of state
    3. Rationalities and rule
    Part II. States of Emergency:
    4. Prophecies of nation
    5. Government acts
    6. Conflict in Qumbu
    7. The men of the mountain
    8. Flights of the lightning bird

  • Author

    Clifton Crais, Emory University, Atlanta
    Clifton Crais is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Emory University. He is author of over one hundred works, including Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa(Cambridge, 2011); Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography (2008) - on the woman more famously known as the 'Hottentot Venus' and the subject of a feature film, 'Venus Noire' - and White Supremacy and Black Resistance in Pre-Industrial South Africa: The Making of the Colonial Order in the Eastern Cape, 1770–1865 (Cambridge, 1992). He is also editor of The Culture of Power in Southern Africa: Essays on State Formation and the Political Imagination (2003), co-editor of Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its Legacy in Nineteenth-Century South Africa (1995) and Area Editor of the Encyclopedia of World History (8 volumes, 2008). Crais is also the author of History Lessons (2014), a work that combines memoir, historiography and the neuroscience of memory, and a documentary history of South Africa. Long-range works include a history of violence and explorations of fiction and creative non-fiction concerning memory and narrative.


    • Winner of the Ohio Academy of History Book Prize 2004

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