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Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies$
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Raphael Dalleo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382967

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382967.001.0001

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Fields in Formation: English Studies and National Literature in South Africa (with a Brazilian Comparison)

Fields in Formation: English Studies and National Literature in South Africa (with a Brazilian Comparison)

Chapter:
(p.159) Chapter Seven Fields in Formation: English Studies and National Literature in South Africa (with a Brazilian Comparison)
Source:
Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies
Author(s):

Stefan Helgesson

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781382967.003.0008

Taking the significant changes in anglophone literary studies in South Africa in the 1970s and the 1980s as its point of departure, this chapter reflects on the field logic that enabled this change to occur. The focus lies theoretically on the positions and dispositions of white anglophone scholars, and is empirically restricted to the work of Tim Couzens and Stephen Gray at the time. The guiding hypothesis is that there were two related issues at stake in South Africa in the 1970s: the consolidation of the scholarly authority of ‘South African literature’, and the establishment of ‘black South African literature’ as a legitimate field of study. Besides the necessary coupling of these developments to anti-apartheid resistance and the political crises of the 1970s, the chapter’s field analysis shows that the changing position of English-speaking whites under apartheid adds to our understanding of the later turn. The chapter ends with a coda that briefly compares the South African situation with Antonio Candido’s interventions in Brazil in the 1960s. This is in order to disturb the closed focus on South African literature by regarding it from the viewpoint of another postcolony and another linguistic realm.

Keywords:   apartheid, field theory, intellectual history, social history, South African literature, Tim Couzens, Stephen Gray

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