Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Apartheid supporters and other extinct species:Distinguished lecture by Professor Melissa Steyn. 21st January 2015 Event

18:00 - 20:00
21 January 2015
Building 58 (Murray Building) lecture theatre A ( room 1067), Highfield Campus. A drinks reception will be held afterwards in the foyer.

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Sarah Dack on +44 (0) 23 8059 2522 (x22522 internal) or email .

Event details

You are invited to Professor Melissa Steyn’s Distinguished lecture: Apartheid supporters and other extinct species: White South Africans and the politics of ignorance.

Twenty years into democracy, few white South Africans who lived during the apartheid era acknowledge that they were implicated in the system. They are more likely to claim that apartheid operated in such opaque ways that ordinary citizens could not have known the realities of what was happening in their society. For the past three years, Professor Steyn has conducted focus groups and interviews with white South Africans who are prepared to reflect on “what we knew,” partly to counter this reconstruction of past, but also to understand better what has been called “epistemologies of ignorance.” In this view, collective ignorance can be seen as a social accomplishment which contributes to our understanding of the operations of racial privilege.

Melissa Steyn holds the DST-NRF South African National Research Chair in Critical Diversity Studies, and is the founding director of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies. Her work engages with intersecting hegemonic social formations, and includes the publication of four co-edited books on race, culture, gender and sexuality. Her book, Whiteness just isn’t what is used to be: White identity in a changing South Africa (2001, SUNY Press,) won the 2002 Outstanding Scholarship Award in International and Intercultural Communication from the National Communication Association in the United States. Melissa was featured as one of Routledge’s Sociology Super Authors for 2013.

Privacy Settings