Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMichigan, Ann Arbor, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9248
Approve DateApril 8, 2016
Project TitleRupcic, Sonia Maria, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Redressing Sexual Wrongs in a Former South African Homeland,' supervised by Dr. Jatin Dua
Preliminary abstract: South Africa’s democratic transition ushered in a new legal landscape, formally dismantling systems of customary law with the promise of standardized legal uniformity. Nevertheless, justice-seeking in democratic South Africa continues outside the criminal justice system with victims appealing to traditional leaders, neighborhood watch groups, family and occult practitioners. This is especially the case with sexual violence, a contested category of wrongdoing that has historically been dealt with in a number of ways. Forums for resolving disputes do not simply offer multiple routes to remedy; they offer alternative modes of constructing unwanted sex as wrong through practices rooted in differing claims about personhood, causality and evidence. My dissertation research uses ethnographic methods to ask: 1) How do victims of unwanted sex seek remedy? 2) What is the relationship between different forums of redress, as understood through the practical activities of justice? 3) How is unwanted sex constituted as transgression in and through forums of redress? By bridging literatures on post-colonial governance, anthropologies of law and personhood, and feminist jurisprudence, my research looks to diverse processes of redress to show how sexual wrongs exceed the bounds of equality and difference to produce new configurations of sovereignty and political subjectivity.