What can the story of clothing tells us about the nature of colonial power relations?

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What can the story of clothing tells us about the nature of colonial power relations?

What can the story of clothing tells us about the nature of colonial power relations?Explain


Essay topic : Religion and the modern world: South Africa the Tswana and missionaries in the nineteenth century

Question: What can the story of clothing tells us about the nature of colonial power relations?

The Europeans conquered almost the entire continent of Africa in the nineteenth century. Victorians brought their culture and their faith; hence Africa was swept by Protestant and Catholic missionaries who often arrived in places before colonial troops. Along the frontiers of what is now South Africa the Tswana people were converted by Evangelical missionaries. Africans became Christians. But what did that mean?

Among the things that changed was clothing. Europeans were transmitting their tastes to Asians Africans and everyone else. All around the world people were wearing trousers western hats western suits etc. But not always in an identical fashion. This question is about the Tswana people in South Africa and their encounters with missionaries. More specifically we will read that relationship through clothing. We were adopting western clothing but in ways that was disquieting to the missionaries.

In this essay your task critically analyse the politics of dress in one interesting context.

What did Europeans see a need to ‘fashion’ colonial subjects?
Why did the body matter in the colonial world?
Why did colonial subjects get ‘refashioned’
What were the meanings ascribed to the fashioning process?
Who were the losers?

Reference using footnotes in Chicago 17th Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html.

Sources to use

Collins Robert O. and James M. Burns. “The European Conquest of Africa.” Chapter. In A History of Sub-Saharan Africa 2nd ed. 263–78. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139795333.022.

Comaroff Jean and John Comaroff. “Christianity and Colonialism in South Africa.” American Ethnologist 13 no. 1 (1986): 1-22. Accessed June 25 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/644583.

Jensz Felicity. ‘Missionaries and Indigenous Education in the 19th-Century British Empire. Part I: Church-State Relations and Indigenous Actions and Reactions’. History Compass 10 no. 4 (2012): 294–305. Accessed doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2012.00839.x.
Karen Karen. 2021. Fashion-History.Lovetoknow.Com. https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/fashion-history-eras/colonialism-imperialism.

Lindenfeld David. “Indigenous Encounters with Christian Missionaries in China and West Africa 1800-1920: A Comparative Study.” Journal of World History 16 no. 3 (2005): 327-69. Accessed June 22 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20079332.

Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Research. 2007. “The Power And Politics Of Dress In Africa”. University of Pennsylvania ScholarlyCommons.

Rovine Victoria L. “Colonialism’s Clothing: Africa France and the Deployment of Fashion.” Design Issues 25 no. 3 (2009): 44-61. Accessed June 25 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20627816.
VOLZ Stephen. 2004. “European Missionaries And The Development Of Tswana Identity 1”. Le Fait Missionnaire 15 (1): 97-128. doi:10.1163/221185204×00131.

Volz Stephen C. “African Evangelism and the Colonial Frontier: The Life and Times of Paulo Rrafifing Molefane.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 47 no. 1 (2014): 101-20. Accessed June 25 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24393331.

Waites B. (1999) Europe and Africa from the Slave Trade to the Colonial Conquest. In: Europe and the Third World. Themes in Comparative History. Palgrave London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-27623-3_4