Representations of landscape and gender in Lady Anne Barnard's "Journal of a month's tour into the interior of Africa"

Collins, Brenda (2007-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis will focus on Barnard’s representations of gender and landscape during her tour into the interior of the South of Africa. Barnard’s conscious representation of herself as a woman with many different social roles gives the reader insight into the developing gender roles at the time of an emerging feminism. On their tour, Barnard reports on four aspects of the interior, namely the state of cultivation of the land, the type of food and accommodation available in the interior, the possibilities for hunting and whether the colony will be a valuable acquisition for Britain. Barnard’s view of the landscape is representative of the eighteenth century’s preoccupation with control over and classification of nature. She values order and cleanliness in her vision of a domesticated landscape. She appropriates the land in wanting to make it useful and beautiful to the colonisers. However, her representations of the landscape, as well as its inhabitants, remain ambivalent in terms of the discourse of imperialism because she is unable to adopt an unequivocal colonial voice. Her complex interaction with the world of colonialism is illustrated by, on the one hand, her adherence to the desire to classify the inhabitants of the colony according to the eighteenth century’s fascination with classification and, on the other hand, her recognition of the humanity of the individuals with whom she interacts in a move away from the colonial stance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis fokus op Barnard se voorstellings van gender en landskap gedurende haar toer in die binneland van die suide van Afrika. Barnard se bewuste voorstelling van haarself as ‘n vrou met vele sosiale rolle gee die leser insig in die ontwikkelende genderrolle gedurende ‘n tydperk van ontluikende feminisme. Gedurende haar toer doen Barnard verslag oor vier aspekte van die binneland, naamlik hoeveel van die grond reeds bewerk is, die tipe kos en akkommodasie wat beskikbaar is, die jagmoontlikhede, en of die kolonie ‘n waardevolle aanwins vir Brittanje sal wees. Barnard se beskouing van die landskap is verteenwoordigend van die agtiende-eeuse obsessie met beheer oor en klassifikasie van die natuur. Sy heg groot waarde aan orde en netheid in haar visie van ‘n getemde landskap. Sy lê beslag op die land deurdat sy dit bruikbaar en mooi wil maak vir die kolonialiste. Haar voorstellings van die landskap sowel as die inwoners weerspieël egter haar ambivalente posisie jeens die koloniale diskoers omdat sy sukkel om ‘n ondubbelsinnige koloniale stem te gebruik. Haar komplekse interaksie met die wêreld van kolonialisme word weerspieël deur, enersyds, haar navolging van die koloniale neiging om die inwoners van die land te kategoriseer in lyn met die agtiende-eeuse obsessie met klassifikasie en, andersyds, haar herkenning van die menslikheid van die individue met wie sy kontak maak in ‘n skuif weg van die koloniale standpunt.

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