Contested Terrains: Property, Family, and Identity on the Cedarberg Frontier (Western Cape) South Africa, 1725–c.1830


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


Situated geographically and temporally in a contested zone of colonial engagement, this study of frontiers documents tense relationships among European settlers, Asian slaves, and African hunters and herders in eighteenth-century South Africa. Methodologically, I work at the intersections of disciplinary boundaries, drawing on anthropology, archaeology, art history, and environmental studies to craft a holistic social history of communities competing over the terms of land tenure and social identity. Colonial struggles must be analyzed in terms of specific contests, rather than relying on general power disequilibrium to explain the violence of conquest and resistance. I break new ground by locating settler and African power within family and household structures.