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Shakespeare and South Africa$
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David Johnson

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183150

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183150.001.0001

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Humanism and Racism: 1850–1900

Humanism and Racism: 1850–1900

(p.40) 2 Humanism and Racism: 1850–1900
Shakespeare and South Africa

David Johnson

Oxford University Press

This chapter reflects first on how the connection between liberal humanism and colonial racism is formulated in the writings of certain key thinkers of the late nineteenth century in Britain and the Cape Colony: Matthew Arnold, Langham Dale, and James Cameron. Second, it relates their formulations to one of the central liberal humanist educational projects initiated during this period, namely English studies. It shows that there was no opposition between liberal humanism and colonial racism, and instead existed as compatible elements of a particular world view. All the more reason to refuse the opposition at this time of extraordinary change in South Africa's history, to resist privileging and reinvest in the one term without attending directly and explicitly to the connections between the ‘human’ and the ‘racist’.

Keywords:   liberal humanism, colonial racism, Cape Colony, Matthew Arnold, Langham Dale, James Cameron, English studies

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