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The micro-history of a South African murder

Krikler, J (2017) 'The micro-history of a South African murder.' Journal of Southern African Studies, 43 (6). 1255 - 1272. ISSN 0305-7070

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Abstract

This article explores a murder that took place on a Transvaal farm in the early 20th century. By subjecting it to the techniques of micro-history, it demonstrates that the killing, far from having merely a narrow personal or criminal significance, casts a powerful if lurid light on important historical processes and phenomena. Central among these are the following: the social power of Boer landowners over an impoverished white tenantry; the intimacy and violence of master- servant relations between the races in the countryside; the new mode of policing in the wake of the South African War; and the fact that black action in that conflict continued to affright Boer/Afrikaner consciousness. In short, the article offers a study of how a wider history is embedded in, and illuminated by, a single criminal case. The startling evidence of the trial is also used to convey the relationships of power on a particular agrarian estate, and how these were challenged as the state enlisted servants as witnesses against their masters.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 13:41
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2019 01:00
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21206

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