The cuff and the collar : a contemporary representation of seventeenth century symbols of power and oppression at the Cape of Good Hope

Kruger, Carla Maxine (2014-04)

Thesis (MA(VA))--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines the extent to which the cuff and the collar as semiotic entities played a significant role in the symbolic expression of power and oppression in the seventeenth century Cape of Good Hope. These entities were visually naturalised by the Eurocentric imperialist hegemony at the Cape and offered as undisputed ‘truth’. These symbols permeated the collective consciousness of the society at the Cape on both a physical and cognitive level. The white ruff and cuffs, and the shackles of the slaves represented physical restraints, whilst mentally the slaves were confronted with identity construction and deconstruction. ‘The self’ was pitted against ‘the Other’, and these European values and hierarchies were enforced on the society at the Cape by creating dualistic relationships. An identity implies a certain amount of power. For this reason, the Europeans stripped the slaves of their identities in order to gain control over them. This theory, together with the investigation into the hybrid characteristic of culture as a product of colonialism and slavery at the Cape, will be established concurrently with the aim of my practical work — The Ruff/Rough Collection, The Shackle Collection, and The Soft Steel Collection. This body of work aims to deconstruct the boundaries and hierarchies established by the cuff and the collar (as symbols of the power and oppression paradigm) at the Cape.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die mate waarin die mouboordjie (‘cuff’) en die kraag (‘collar’) as semiotiese entiteite ’n beduidende rol gespeel het in die simboliese uitdrukking van mag en onderdrukking aan die Kaap de Goede Hoop in die sewentiende eeu. Hierdie simbole is visueel deur die Eurosentriese imperialistiese leierskap ingevoer en as onbetwisbare waarheid van hul mag en heerskappy voorgehou. Dié simbole het die kollektiewe bewussyn van die samelewing aan die Kaap op ’n fisieke en geestelike vlak geïnfiltreer. Die wit plooikraag (‘ruff’) wat die Europeërs gedra het om hulself as ‘meesters’ te vestig, en die boeie van die slawe het fisieke beperkings verteenwoordig, terwyl die slawe geestelik gekonfronteer is met die opbou en afbreek van hulle identiteit. ‘Die ek’ is teen ‘die Ander’gestel en Europese waardes is op grond van die Eurosentriese ingesteldheid van die ‘meesters’ op die samelewing afgedwing as ‘n dualistiese verhouding. ’n Identiteit impliseer ’n sekere graad van mag. Daarom het die Europeërs die slawe van hulle identiteit gestroop om sodoende mag oor hulle te verkry. Hierdie teorie, asook die ondersoek na die hibridiese eienskap van kultuur as ’n produk van kolonialisme en slawerny aan die Kaap, sal konkurrent met die doel van my praktiese werk — The Ruff/Rough Collection, The Shackle Collection en The Soft Steel Collection — gevestig word. Die doel van hierdie versameling kontemporêre juweliersware is om die grense en hiërargieë te dekonstrueer, wat deur die mouboordjie (‘cuff’) en die kraag (‘collar’) (as simbole van die mag- en onderdrukkingsparadigma) tot stand gebring is aan die Kaap de Goede Hoop.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86543
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