How did South Africans become black? How did the idea of blackness influence conceptions of disadvantaged groups in England such as women and the poor, and vice versa?
Bringing the Empire Home tracks colonial images of blackness from South Africa to England and back again to answer questions such as these. Before the mid-1800s, black Africans were considered savage to the extent that their plight mirrored England's internal Others—women, the poor, and the Irish. By the 1900s, England's minority groups were being defined in relation to stereotypes of black South Africans. These stereotypes, in turn, were used to justify both new capitalist class and gender hierarchies in England and the subhuman treatment of blacks in South Africa. Bearing this in mind, Zine Magubane considers how marginalized groups in both countries responded to these racialized representations.
Revealing the often overlooked links among ideologies of race, class, and gender, Bringing the Empire Home demonstrates how much black Africans taught the English about what it meant to be white, poor, or female.