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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sara Baartman and the ethics of representation
Author:Dunton, ChrisISNI
Year:2015
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Volume:46
Issue:2
Pages:32-51
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:poetry
ethics
images
Khoikhoi
San
About person:Sarah Baartman (1789-1816)ISNI
Link:https://doi.org/10.2979/reseafrilite.46.2.32
Abstract:This paper has as its main concern a reexamination of Stephen Gray's 1977 poem 'Hottentot Venus' in the light of two events that occurred after the poem's publication: first, the return of the remains of Sara Baartman (Gray's Hottentot Venus) to South Africa and their ceremonial burial; second, the publication of a biography of Baartman by Clifford Crais and Pamela Scully, a work that has much to say on the production of knowledge and the uses made of this. The paper compares Gray's poem with a poem on Baartman by Diana Ferrus and with Suzan-Lori Parks's play Venus, focusing on the attribution of agency or its absence. This discussion leads into an examination of the ethics of representation (especially the representation of the Other and of suffering), surveying, first, historical studies of the representation of Khoekhoe, Bushmen, and other marginalized peoples of southern Africa, then novels that attempt such representation or that problematize this by Dalene Matthee, Yvette Christiansė, and Zoe Wicomb, and addressing views on the ethics of representation by, among others, Antjie Krog, Susan Sontag, and Alice Walker. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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