Cultural construction and spatial strategy on the Eastern Cape frontier, 1806-c1838

Lester, Alan (1996) Cultural construction and spatial strategy on the Eastern Cape frontier, 1806-c1838. South African Geographical Journal, 78 (2). pp. 98-107. ISSN 0373-6245

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While the course of geographical shifts in the eastern Cape Colony's frontier during the first half of the 19th century is well documented, those shifts are generally explained solely in terms of competition for land and resulting cattle raiding and warfare. Cultural imperatives accompanying the changes in colonial frontier policy are often neglected. This paper is a preliminary attempt to draw attention to the connections between colonial officials ‘shifting constructions of the Xhosa as a cultural’ other', and their ideas of colonial spatial boundaries. These connections are then traced through the early 19th century. It is argued that official constructions of the Xhosa were contingent, relating strongly to the degree of conflict along the frontier at any given time. Official conceptions of the frontier as a sealed barrier or, alternatively, as a zone of interaction between perceived Xhosa savagery and European civilization, varied accordingly. Alongside, and related to, land and resource struggles then, cultural constructions should be considered as additional influences on the spatial development of the frontier.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G0001 Geography (General)
Depositing User: Alan Lester
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:19
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2012 13:59
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