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South Africa: Contested Transitions
The inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994 marked the end of a way of life for South Africa. Or did it? Most South Africans finally became citizens in their own country, and their new constitution guaranteed equality, promising redress for injustices of the past. The imagination and resilience that characterized opposition to minority rule could now be turned to reconstruction and development. Yet much remained the same. Laws, administrative rules, common practices, and interpersonal expectations all reflected the legacy of discrimination and racism. Reconstructing South Africa requires confronting sharply contested transitions. How, for example, should government be organized? Will the new local authorities facilitate popular participation or entrench elite privilege? What are the roots of the current situation, and how do they shape future possibilities? These and related questions will frame our exploration of South Africa's social history, especially efforts to create a nonracist, nonsexist, democratic society.
This course fulfills the second-level Writing and Rhetoric Requirement (WRITE 2) and emphasizes oral and multimedia presentation.