Martin Legassick
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From prisoners to exhibits
Representations of ‘Bushmen’ of the Northern Cape, 1880–1900
in Rethinking settler colonialism
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John Scott presided over the Baster settlement established in Gordonia, north of the Orange, to defend the frontier and act as a buffer for the Cape Colony against further attacks from the interior. Among his duties was dealing with the 'Bushmen', inhabitants of the area. In his book The Birth of the Museum, Tony Bennett takes issue with Douglas Crimp for describing the museum as another Foucaultian 'institution of confinement'. While the museum and the prison are both articulations of power and knowledge relations, the museum, he insists, is an institution not of confinement but of exhibition. The chapter illustrates how the mind of colonial officials like Scott, the new form of social control of the 'Bushmen' through subjection to colonial law and imprisonment was bound up with viewing them as subjects of scientific investigation.

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Rethinking settler colonialism

History and memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa


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