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TALK: Namibia’s Red Line – On the History of a Fence in Southern Africa Giorgio Miescher (University

October 11, 2013 from 12:00PM - 2:00PM

The Red Line is a massive fence that stretches over 1,000 kilometers across Namibia and separates this southwest African country into two parts. This fence, constructed by South Africa in the 1960s, stands for a border making process that reaches back to the nineteenth century as part of establishing colonial control. This internal border, reflecting veterinarian medicine and colonial development, became more  determinative for the governmentality and socioeconomic structure of Namibia’s settler society than external borders. The Red Line, a pivotal device of the South African empire, functioned as a “Barbarian border” drawn against the dangers of inner Africa, marking the limits of “white” South Africa. The presentation will historicize the making of this internal African border, point to its paradoxes, and sketch its legacy. It will address challenges in working with textual, visual, and oral sources, and critically reflect on the colonial archive.

Miescher is the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow/Senior Researcher at the Centre of African Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland, and the Centre for Humanities Research, University of Western Cape, South Africa. He is the author of Namibia’s Red Line: The History of a Veterinary and Settlement Border (2012) and co-author of the award winning African Posters (2004).


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: the IHC's Ancient Borderlands RFG and African Studies RFG and the Dept. of History.
  • Starts: October 11, 2013 12:00PM - 2:00PM
  • Location: HSSB 4080
  • Website: http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/namibias-red-line/
  • Sponsors: the IHC's Ancient Borderlands RFG and African Studies RFG and the Dept. of History.