“Open Doors” and “Stranger Natives”: white supremacy, racialisation and governing im/mobilities in African Trusts

Monday, 28 August, 2023 - 16:00

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This is an on-line seminarPlease, register for the session in advance of the meeting at :  https://wits-za.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJckd-ytrzwiEtHogJsRMtAP8ZsyGZpprMs4

This article explores how processes of white supremacy and racialisation coalesce in governing differential im/mobilities in mid-twentieth century African Trusts administered by the British under the League of Nations Mandate System and later UN Trusteeship Council. Based on archival research of League of Nations, United Nations and British Foreign and Commonwealth Office communications it explores two seemingly contradictory yet complementary concerns: “open doors” and “stranger natives” that illuminate dynamics of white supremacy and processes of racialisation in governing im/mobilities. Both the Open Door policy promoting the free movement of western, specifically understood as white, (extractive) capitalist interests across African Trust territories and the ongoing British concern with “stranger natives” considered to be people ‘out of place’ in their ‘native’ land based on an absence of capitalist property relations worked to produce highly racialised relations of im/mobility. At the same time “open doors” and “stranger natives” continued colonial processes of racialised differentiation and Indigeneity based on relations to ownership of and access to both capital and property working to maintain white supremacy within British African Trust territories.

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