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The Ugly and Violent Removal of the Cecil Rhodes Statue at a South African University: A Critical Posthumanist Reading

  • Karin Murris
Chapter

Abstract

Motivated by the still visible signs of colonialism and lack of transformation at the University of Cape Town (UCT), black South African student Chumani Maxwele threw human feces at the statue of British colonist Cecil Rhodes on March 9, 2015. The action led to the removal of the statue, during which the author took a photo of black South African fine arts student Sethembile Msezane’s human statue—an art installation. Murris analyzes this photo using a critical posthumanist orientation and the diffractive methodology developed by Donna Haraway and Karen Barad. The author’s posthumanist reading opens up possibilities for paying careful attention to how the material in our lives also has power and agency, and realizing that bodies (including our own) always intra-act with the discursive, thereby making room for empathy and care for differences-in-the-making.

References

  1. Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(31), 801–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barad, K. (2012). ‘Intra-actions’: An interview with Karen Barad by Adam Kleinman. Mousse, 34, 76–81.Google Scholar

Related Further Reading

  1. Braidotti, R. (2013). The posthuman. Cambridge, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  2. Murris, K. (2016). The posthuman child: Educational transformation through philosophy with picturebooks. Contesting early childhood series. London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Murris
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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