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Reframing Johannesburg’s urban politics through the lens of the Chinese Camera Club of South Africa.

Corrigall, M., 2018. Reframing Johannesburg’s urban politics through the lens of the Chinese Camera Club of South Africa. Social Dynamics, 44 (3), 510- 527.

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DOI: 10.1080/02533952.2018.1503036

Abstract

© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The Chinese Camera Club of South Africa was formed in 1952 in Johannesburg and was active throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Chinese South Africans were adversely affected by the consolidation of urban racial segregation during apartheid. The Club and its members used the spatial tactic of the photographic outing to disrupt the racialisation of space within Johannesburg, as well as to produce photographs that expressed aspirations that were curtailed by the apartheid system. Photographic outings created temporary zones of autonomy in which photographers could capture subversive and otherwise ephemeral experiences of space. I also examine a photographic exhibition organised by the Chinese Camera Club that formed part of the Johannesburg Festival of 1956. By participating in this celebration of civic pride, the Chinese Camera Club exploited a conspicuous public platform to enhance the visibility and prestige of both themselves and the wider Chinese community within Johannesburg. To paraphrase Stuart Hall, the exhibition contested the relations of difference that were imposed upon club members by racial classification, and replaced exclusionary notions of their difference with relentlessly positive ones. Simultaneously, the exhibition asserted a sense of their belonging to Johannesburg, in spite of their precarious right to reside within it.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0253-3952
Uncontrolled Keywords:Photography, Johannesburg, camera clubs, diaspora studies, exhibition history, apartheid
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:33376
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:10 Feb 2020 15:10
Last Modified:10 Feb 2020 15:10

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