Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750-1870: A Tragedy of Manners

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This compelling example of the new cultural history of South Africa is a subtle and wide-ranging study of status and respectability in the colonial Cape. Focusing on domestic relationships, gender, education, and religion, it analyzes values and modes of thinking current in different social strata, arguing that these cultural factors were related to high political developments. The result is a rich account of changes in social identity that accompanied the transition from Dutch to British overrule, and the development of white racism and ideologies of resistance to white domination.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...should be read by any student of South Africa's history and by those interested in British cultural imperialism in the nineteenth-century." Roger B. Beck, History

"[Ross's] latest book, Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750-1870: A Tragedy of Manners, is in many way the most ambitious of all his books. This is a field that has long waited for a historian able to bring together his own original work and studies by other scholars in a free-ranging and provocative synthesis." International Journal of African Historical Studies

"...the book is an interesting read and does, in the end, shed welcome light on what Michel Foucault called the 'microfoundations of power.'" American Historical Review

"...this is a humane, insightful and immensely knowledgeable book that also manages to be moving in its account of the cruelties of rank and the struggles of many to escape, transcend, or exploit status and respectability." Elizabeth Elbourne, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Robert Ross has written an absorbing and interesting book that should stimulate more research on culture and representation in South African history." Jrnl of Social History

Saul Dubow
Ross has nevertheless produced a bold and original book, which mixes mature reflection with fresh creative enthusiasm. He has confirmed his status as one of the leading historians of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Cape.
The Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521621229
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2012
  • Series: African Studies Series, #98
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 220
  • Lexile: 1650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Under the VOC; 3. English and Dutch; 4. The content of respectability; 5. Christianity, status and respectability; 6. Outsiders; 7. Acceptance and rejection; 8. Conclusion.

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