Interracial Love in Literature from Southern Africa, 1900-1950
Time period: 2021-01-01 to 2023-12-31
Project leader: Sanja Nivesjö
Funder: Swedish Research Council
Type of award: Grant for positions or stipends
Total fundning: 3 150 000 SEK
This project aims to investigate the representation of interracial love in novels and short stories from South Africa and Zimbabwe, 1900-1950, when ideas of race held a crucial role in society. It will ask the following questions:How is love portrayed in this body of work in relation to race?To what degree does the literature participate in or undermine the production of race as a differentiating factor in society and between people?How did the contemporary social debate surrounding interracial love unfold in newspapers, and how did literary depictions relate to this?The materials and methods necessary to answer these questions are 1) close readings of influential fiction from the period (Blackburn, Gibbon, Millin, Plomer, van der Post, Abrahams, Page, Stockley, Lessing), 2) archival research to locate contextual material on interracial love (opinion pieces, “agony aunt” columns, social reportage, and essays from mission journals, independent protest press, and commercial magazines).This is a three-year project, of which two years will be spent in the UK with a shorter research trip to South Africa locating and analysing materials in year one. Year three will be spent at Uppsala University, where a monograph on the research topic will be completed.As the first study of its kind, the project will constitute a vital historical reading of how racial love was imagined during the development of Southern African written literature in the first half of the 20th century.