British Infantryman in South Africa, 1877-81 : the by Ian Castle

By Ian Castle

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In other words, the act of rape has transformed her body—her white, female, lesbian body—into the symbolic signifier of the interregnum. Thus, the novel’s resolution where Lucy is, Introduction 31 in Boehmer’s words, “barefoot and pregnant, and biting her lip” is wholly unsatisfactory because it lapses back into allegorizing Lucy at the expense of embodied subjectivity.  94, italics added). This rape survivor’s contention that rape has propelled her into a state that is neither living nor dead suggests that liminality—because by its very definition it transcends the binary assumptions of either/or, dead/alive—is a useful tool of analysis.

72). Moreover, even taking a crisis of masculinity into account, this does not mean that men are predisposed toward a tendency to rape. As the anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday notes: “It is important to understand that violence is socially and not biologically programmed.  70). 24 Therefore, rather than explaining gendered violence by way of a crisis in masculinity, it would perhaps be better to say that there is a social crisis that is manifest in violence, particularly gendered violence. In this constellation, both hypermasculinities and gendered violence are symptomatic and not causal.

In an interview with Elaine Young, the South African author Achmat Dangor explains that history cannot be reduced to distinct parcels and the picture of history cannot be drawn with neat, straight boundary lines. To do so would be to ignore the continuum of history and the human story: I can’t see how history can be compartmentalised—as if there were something called pre-apartheid South Africa and then a wall came down and wiped the past out and now we suddenly have a post-apartheid or “new” South Africa.

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