Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Lived Diplomacy: Trans-Atlantic Reactionary Whiteness, 1980-1994

"Lived Diplomacy" examines how global white power networks played a critical role in influencing on the ground realities in South Africa, specifically the forcibly created Ciskei and Transkei black ethnic homelands, from 1980 to 1994. This conflict in South Africa represents a larger story of rightwing internationalism of the late Cold War. I argue that mainstream conservative opposition to apartheid and the global anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. and Europe pushed white power groups to seek validation outside the domestic political arena. Creating transnational networks that actively circumvented the authority of the nation-state, these groups relied on the tacit support of the South African Afrikaner and homeland governments to create spaces in which white supremacist and biblical colonization flourished politically and economically. Challenged by the South African Council of Churches, Xhosa community organizers, and the Zion Christian Church, the Bantustans of Ciskei and Transkei became a battleground to challenge U.S. and European white power networks. I adopt a transnational, multi-site research agenda to investigate the ties between global white power networks and South African communities, utilizing government records, newsletters, television programming, community newspapers, and oral histories. Centralizing white power networks, I emphasize how these reactionary forces circumvented, undercut, and in many cases, rendered state policy ineffectual. Combining rabid anti-intellectualism and Counter-Enlightenment thought with organizing tactics co-opted from the radical left, global white power forces focused on South Africa to craft a unique Cold War vision that blended a narrative of white supremacy and religious extremism with geostrategic rhetoric.