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Gangs/ ter /ism History & REPRESENTATION. Katharina Fink, MA University of Bayreuth, Germany [email protected] the Setting. the Achievements. the Network. the Way. the Future. the City of Bayreuth and its University. Bayreuth. Berlin. U niversity and festival city

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Gangs ter ism history representation



Katharina fink ma university of bayreuth germany frl fink@gmx net
Katharina Fink, MAUniversity of Bayreuth, [email protected]

the Setting

the Achievements

the Network

the Way

the Future

the City of Bayreuth and its University



  • University and festival city

  • 73.000 inhabitants, incl. 11.400 students

the University

  • Founded in 1975

  • Campus University

  • Strong interdisciplinary research priorities

  • 1045 registered PhD students including 89 in BIGSAS

  • Institute of African Studies


  • Where we’re at: Week 1: Introduction

    • Topic of the course & programme

    • What is ‘history’?

    • What is ‘popular culture’?

    • Who/what is involved?

  • Lecture1: History & Representation.

    • Who & what are we talking about when we are talking about ‘gangs’?

    • What does ‘representation’ have to do with it?

  • TUT 2: Representation

    • Readings> On the blog

    • Visuals: ‘Jerusalema’ & Gangster-Rap

  • Week 2:

  • History, Heritage &

  • Oral History.

Lecture 3:

What is history,

what is heritage?

  • What is ‘history’?

  • What are the differences

  • between ‘heritage’ and

  • ‘history’?

  • How can we analyse

  • ‘history-writing’?

  • What is the role of the

    • historian & the heritage

    • practicioner?

  • Literature:

  • Bundy, C (2007): “New nation, new history? Constructing the past in post-apartheid South Africa”. In: Stolten, H E (ed.), History Making and Present Day Politics: The meaning of collective memory in South Africa. Uppsala.

  • Lowenthal D (1998): ‘Fabricating heritage’, In: History and Memory 10, 1 (Spring 1998)

  • Baines G: The politics of public history in South Africa. Online at:


  • Material from South Africa:,



  • What is ‘popular culture’?

  • Which paradigmatic shifts have happened in historical studies / cultural studies?

  • Which different types of sources are there?

  • How can we understand them?

WEEK 3 Lecture 5 (21st):

“Backdoors” to history:

Gangs in Westbury>

Stereotypes &

their challenges

Meeting with

Shawn Constant & Local Studio

Lecture 6, 22nd :


of Westbury

Stereotypes &

their challenges II

With Michael Abrahams

Photographer from Westbury

Week 4, Lecture 7 :

Sophiatown –

Close Up History.

  • Topics:

  • Gangs/ters in Sophiatown

  • Musealizingthe Past & the Present?

  • What do curators do?

Week 4, Lecture 8

musicsouth africa,

Sophiatown, history & all that jazz

  • Film screening & discussion with Peter Makurube,

  • writer, film-maker & activist, Sophiatown

  • EXAM

  • 12.3. 2012 (mon)

  • Details follow asap on blog & EduLink, as well as in class.

  • ASSIGNMENT due in may:

  • Details in study guide, on blog & EduLink asap

Week 5 Lecture 9:

Gangs/ter/ism & museums:

Musealizingthe Past &

the Present?

  • Themes:

  • How do museums work?

  • What is ‘curation’?

Week 5 Lecture 10:

History in the museum.

  • Themes:

  • Case studies

Week 6, Lecture 11:

Gangs/ter/ism & the archive

  • Themes:

  • How is knowledge about gangs stored?

  • What is an archive?

  • How to work with it?

  • Original material : DRUM & gangs.

Lecture 12:

Archives II: Case Study

Last sessions 20 3 21 3
Last sessions: 20.3 & 21.3.

  • Wrap Up of our topics:

  • Gangs, representation, history

  • Timeline…

  • Discussion about seminar, themes, your work etc


2012, UJ




What is history to you
What is history – to you?

  • What is ‘history’?

  • How can we analyse ‘history-writing’?

  • What is the role of the historian & the heritage practitioner?

  • What is your role?

Cheikh anta diop
Cheikh anta diop

Until lions tell their tale,

the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter

– African Proverb

Some said...

“God alone knows the future, but only an historian can alter the past.” Ambrose Bierce

“the young have fantasies about the future but the old have fantasies about the past”. David Hare from “Berlin/Wall”

Eshu the trickster

  • Eshu is a trickster-god, in the Yoruba-belief-

  • system,and plays frequently tempting choices for the purpose of causing maturation.

  • He is a difficult teacher, but a good one.

Eshu the trickster1

  • “As an example, Eshu was walking down the road one day, wearing a hat that was red on one side and blue on the other. Sometime after he departed, the villagers who had seen him began arguing about whether the stranger's hat was blue or red. The villagers on one side of the road had only been capable of seeing the blue side, and the villagers on the other side had only been capable of seeing the red half. They nearly fought over the argument, until Eshu came back and cleared the mystery, teaching the villagers about how one's perspective can alter one's perception of reality, and can be easily fooled.”

  • (

Who s involved in writing history
Who’s involved in ‘writing’ history?

  • Historical Event

  • (Life)

  • Studying Historical Event

  • (Book)

Who s involved in writing history1
Who’s involved in ‘writing’ history?

  • Event

  • Observer/First Hand

  • Researcher/Questions/Interest

  • Testimony/Interview…

  • Transcription

  • Analysis/Comparison with other data/studies…

  • Writing Down/Editing

  • Publisher/Editing

  • Students/Public

Different perspectives
Different perspectives

  • Perspective I:

Perspective II:

X writing (in) ‘history’

X writing about ‘history’

  • Herstory

  • Worker’s stories

  • Everyday life

  • Black history

  • Queer histories

  • …..

Representation i
Representation I








Representation ii
Representation II

  • ‘Darstellen’ - as in language, media…







Who is involved
Who is involved?

Who reads?

Who writes?

With which images/intentions?

With which images/intentions?

Who talks about it with whom?

Who edits?

Who buys?

How is it read/ embedded/ …?

Changing how we see images is clearly one way to change the world

bell hooks: reel to real. race, sex, and class at the movies (1996)

“Changing how we see images is clearly one way to change the world”


  • “WE keep coming back to the question of representation because identity is always about representation. People forget that when they wanted white women to get into the workforce because of the world war, what did they start doing? They started having a lot of commercials, a lot of movies, a lot of things that were redoing the female image, saying, “Hey, you can work for the war, but you can still be feminine.”

  • “So what we see is that the mass media, film, TV, all of these things, are powerful vehicles for maintaining the kinds of systems of domination we live under, imperialism, racism, sexism etc. Often there’s a denial of this and art is presented as politically neutral, as though it is not shaped by a reality of domination.”bell hooks, Reel To Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies


What is a gang

  • “Agang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity.[1]” WIKIPEDIA

British soldiers in Afghanistan,

What is a gang1
What is a gang?

  • “By definition, gangs involve multiple individuals (the exact number of individuals it takes to constitute a gang is a hotly debated topic), typically of a similar age and/or shared experience, who may or may not co-offend (again, an important area of dissention).” (Oxford Bibliographies;;jsessionid=C0834400EEB1983B3AD7E761E8B9A00B)

  • “Gangs are defined in many ways, and most definitions have similar components. One common definition of a gang is a group of three or more individuals who engage in criminal activity and identify themselves with a common name or sign.”

  • (National Criminal Reference Service, US)

  • A Subculture of Violence

  • While the term "a culture of violence" denotes the broad acceptability of violence, there are differences in the extent to which certain groups endorse violence. Gangs are an example of a subculture in which violence is particularly pronounced, and this is connected to the composition of its members and their societal location. With regard to township gangs, both the youth and maleness of their members encourage the use of violence, as a result of the strong association between masculinity and violence.

  • “Secondly, given the marginalisation of the members, violence offers a quick and easy method to level the social playing field, to make an impression on an otherwise indifferent society, to gain social approval (from fellow members), and to obtain power and pleasure. “

  • (both quotations from:

Collecting features of gangs
Collecting: Features of Gangs?

  • Group

  • Shared interest

  • Money and Power

  • Male

  • Symbols

  • Identity

  • “Unfortunately, legislation alone will not be able to deal with the problems of gangs. What is needed, is an holistic approach, socio-economic development and a crime prevention programme that incorporates rehabilitation for those who wish to turn away from gang activities. History has shown that the battle against gangs is also the battle of ideas and resources. If the hearts and minds of Western Cape communities cannot be diverted from a selective criminal morality to a more inclusive and caring one, the gangs will succeed in winning the marginalised sections far easier than may be imagine.”” I. Kinnes: THE FUTURE, GANGS AND SOCIETY. Published in Monograph No 48, From urban street gangs to criminal empires: The changing face of gangs in the Western Cape, June 2000. Online at:

For tomorrow
For tomorrow:


  • Wainaina’sHow to Write About Africa

  • and

  • Clark, J (2003): Introduction: Urban Culture: Representations and Experiences in/of Urban Space and Culture. In:  Agenda, No. 57, Urban Culture (2003), pp. 3-10

  • Stable URL: .: urban space representation


  • What does representation mean in the two texts?

  • Which ‘problems’ do come with the issue of representation?

    • Be prepared to give one example.

You can always get in touch
You can always get In touch…

  • via [email protected]

What they don t teach you
what they don’t teach you

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”

Neil Gaiman(thanks to ever/great dream hampton for posting.)