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Laura J. Mitchell concentrates on the contested dynamics of land tenure in the Cedarberg region of the Western Cape, from the first settler land claim of 1725 to the entrenchment of colonial administration in the 1830s. Based on a decade of research, Mitchell focuses on the conflict between Dutch East India Company officials, settlers, indigenous Khoisan, and Indian-Ocean slaves, detailing the ways in which settlers themselves--rather than Company policy or an imperial army--drew the frontier into a colonial orbit and then gradually placed it under colonial control. Against a backdrop of often violent resistance, settlers claimed land one farm at a time. Family by family, household by household, the inhabitants of the Cedarberg region were bound to each other and to a colonial society based at Cape Town. The Khoisan resisted displacement, the appropriation of their livestock and hunting grounds, involuntary servitude, and subordination. Likewise, settlers resisted the Dutch East India Company's efforts at controlling territorial expansion, limiting their interaction with independent Khoisan groups, and regulating bonded labor. At the same time, the increasing presence of European material culture in frontier spaces proved that many settlers still affirmed their relationship to colonial power. Mitchell enriches her social history with insights from anthropology, archaeology, sociology, and environmental and women's studies, considering multiple sources of power and identity and recovering the role of women in creating settler society.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780231142526
ISBN-10: 0231142528
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Pages: 252
Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 4-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United States


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Author Biography - Laura J. Mitchell

Laura J. Mitchell is assistant professor of African history at the University of California, Irvine. Her work explores issues of identity in South Africa's constituent communities, and her publications focus on colonial encounters and the global context of early modern exchanges in relation to the environment, gender, family relationships, and the control of labor.

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