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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ICGC Brown Bag presents Professor Elliot James

Professor Elliot James will be lecturing on "Crime and Governance in Cape Town's Early Taxi Industry, 1908-1916" as part of the ICGC Brown Bag series. It will be held in 537 Heller Hall at 12pm on Friday Nov. 9th.

ICGC Brown Bag
Friday, November 9, 2012
12:00 noon, 537 Heller Hall
"Crime and Governance in Cape Town's Early Taxi Industry,
Presented by: Elliot James
Department of History

This presentation explores a South Africa where laws against taxi drivers who injured people were few but strict, and where those convicted of negligent driving should expect not to ever work as a taxi driver again. Considering the alarm over widespread taxi violence, many living in South Africa might find such punitive justice improbable today. Rather than resist the law, the entrepreneurs who established the first taxi businesses pushed provincial authorities to govern them more--to restrict their activities and to hold them accountable. For taxis, abiding by the law was a crucial strategy in earning legitimacy. In so doing, the appeals of early taxi entrepreneurs helped inaugurate a definition of the taxi in the early 20th century that was concomitant with the competent, law-abiding subject. As the "black taxi revolution" unfolded in the 1970s and 1980s, this sense of subject-hood was disavowed as state governance over the taxi industry waned and as taxi drivers formed new coalitions with anti-apartheid nationalist movements. Considering this, analysis of early taxis' appeals to the institutions that governed them might help us gauge the stakes of transforming what constitutes as "the taxi" at different moments of political change in South Africa.
For the complete Fall 2012 ICGC brown bag schedule, go to ICGC.umn.edu
Click here to view a flyer for the event.