Apartheid South Africa and the Struggles for Democracy – Fall 2017

Course number: AAAS 316S, POLSCI 336S, PUBPOL 326S, HISTORY 396S

Course attributes: CCI, EI, R, CZ, SS

Course description: 

Working through an array of diverse organizations – including the African National Congress, the Pan African Congress, the Black Consciousness Movement, a host of liberal organizations, the churches, the trade union federations, and countless more – black and some white South Africans fought against apartheid from its inception.  In 1994 they achieved a multi-racial democracy led by President Nelson Mandela.  This seminar explores key themes in post-World War II South African history, paying special attention to the plethora of anti-apartheid struggles, while giving voice to some pro-apartheid proponents.

The readings are arranged both chronologically and thematically.  Over the course of the term, we will discuss how apartheid affected people’s daily lives, the ideological and programmatic opposition to apartheid, and the internecine struggles between and within the anti-apartheid organizations and movements.  We will conclude the course with contemporary reflections on life during apartheid.

Professor biography:

Professor Shapiro studies American social and southern history, as well as South African history. She is now engaged in three distinct projects. The first consists of a biography of Archbishop Walter Khotso Makhulu, archbishop of Central Africa between 1980 and 2000.  A graduate of the same seminary and a direct contemporary of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who served as Archbishop of Cape Town,

Second, explores South Africa’s apartheid-era emigration policy and its relationship to notions of citizenship and state formation, as well as the ways in which passports and other kinds of travel documents formed part of the oppressive apparatus of the successive National Party governments.

Third, Professor Shapiro is researching the transnational careers of seven influential South African medics who came to North Carolina in the 1950s and ‘60s to work at Duke and UNC, Chapel Hill. Primarily epidemiologists and family and community medicine doctors, this cohort adopted a “social medicine” approach. These pioneering doctors generally left South Africa when the National Party introduced apartheid in the late 1940s/1950s. Several ended up in North Carolina, where they had long and illustrious careers.