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Title: Colonial palimpsests in schooling : tracing continuity and change in South Africa
Authors: Christie, Pam
Keywords: Decolonization -- South Africa
Education -- South Africa
Educational equalization -- South Africa
School management and organization -- South Africa
South Africa -- Politics and government -- 1948-1994
Social justice -- South Africa
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Education
Citation: Christie, P. (2021). Colonial palimpsests in schooling: tracing continuity and change in South Africa. Postcolonial Directions in Education, 10(1), 51-79.
Abstract: Using the image of a palimpsest, this paper illustrates how patterns laid down in the colonial past linger on after colonial governments are dismantled, in this case in South Africa. As in a palimpsest, historical patterns are partially but unevenly erased as new forms are inscribed on the template when governments change. Arguing that palimpsests need to be analysed in context, the paper looks at three periods: settler colonialism up to 1910 when the major script of colonial schooling was written; the period of apartheid (1948-1994) when the initial colonial script was modified to intensify inequalities; and the post-1994 period, when fundamental changes to the colonial script were envisaged, but the deeply etched inequalities of the past have endured, albeit in different configurations. With theorists of coloniality, the paper suggests that more radical changes are needed to shift historically embedded inequalities of class, race, gender, locality, culture, language and identity associated with colonialism. The palimpsest of schooling would then require further erasures and rewriting to reflect greater social justice.
Appears in Collections:PDE, Volume 10, No. 1
PDE, Volume 10, No. 1

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