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Manners Make a Nation (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora)

ISBN: 9781580465205
Publisher: University of Rochester Press
Publication Date: 2015-09-01
Number of pages: 267
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This book tells the story of how people struggled to define, reform, and overturn racial etiquette as a social guide for Southern Rhodesian politics. Underneath what appears to be a static history of racial etiquette is a dynamicstory of anxieties over racial, gender, and generational status. From the outlawing of ""insolence"" toward officials to a last-ditch ""courtesy campaign"" in the early 1960s, white elites believed that their nimble use of racial etiquette would contain Africans' desire for social and political change. In turn, Africans mobilized around stories of racial humiliation. Shutt's research provides a micro-history of Africans' changing discourse about manners and respectability that by the 1950s became central to fiercely contested political positions and nationalist tactics. Intense debates among Africans and whites alike over the deployment of courtesy and rudeness reveal the social-emotional tensions that contributed to political mobilization on the part of nationalists and the narrowing of options for the course of white politics. There are no straw figures in this book, though there are plenty of questionable characters, poor manners, and tragedies. Allison Shutt is professor of history at Hendrix College. She has published articles in the Journal of African History, Journal of Southern African Studies, and International Journal of African Historical Studies.

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