The idea of archive crucially informs my thesis on images of Islam in South African media and culture. In repositories of authoritative texts the thesis tracked the dynamics that render Islam visible in South Africa. I examined official and parallel archives, finding images of Islam in overlooked and insignificant places such as cookbooks, jokes and stories and, through them, explored interior and resistant meanings. In the thesis I analysed novels, paintings, plays and poetry, and examined the patterns and emphases in the visual repositories on Islam in the South African National Library and the catalogue of the Museum Africa in Johannesburg. I looked also at what is lacking from such archives, conducting what Martin Hall called an ‘archaeology of absences’. I pointed to the existence of alternative archives of Islam in South Africa generated through forms of self-organization such as mosques that developed parallel and in opposition to official colonial institutions. Beyond documents, I accessed through interviews more evanescent occurrences such as jokes, visiting customs and burial rituals. Through interviews as well as analyses of recipe books I explored practices surrounding food. I offered these different ways of speaking about Islam not as the ‘true story’ but to show what lies beyond the view of Islam as picturesque and exotic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)