Cover image for Miscast : negotiating the presence of the Bushmen
Miscast : negotiating the presence of the Bushmen
Skotnes, Pippa, 1957-
Publication Information:
Cape Town, South Africa : University of Cape Town Press, 1996.
Physical Description:
383 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm
General Note:
Compiled for an exhibition at the South African National Gallery.
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DT1058.S36 M57 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



In this book, eminent scholars explore the term 'Bushmen' and the relationships that gave rise to it, from the perspectives of anthropology, archaeology, comparative religion, literary studies, art history and musicology. Topics as diverse as trophy heads and museums, to the destruction of the Cape San, and appraisals of 19th-century photographic practices are examined.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Skotnes (Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa) prepared this handsome volume of photographs and essays to accompany an exhibit at the South African National Gallery on the people known to the European world as "Bushmen." In her introduction, she argues that these peoples--the Khoisan speakers of the area, now a distilled category as the result of the colonial experience--have been "miscast." Not only have they been misrepresented in the literature, but also in the literal sense because some were put on display by entrepreneurs in earlier times for the proposed edification of the public. Today, remnants of their existence--body casts, skulls, and other body parts, particularly genitalia--rest uneasily in European Museums for the presumed edification of scholars. These collected essays recount this sad tale of exploitation and cultural genocide in detail. Topics considered include indigenous art, music, mythology, history, and more important, the manner in which these cultural characteristics were interpreted by the European mind, interpretations that inform readers more about the investigators than their subjects. The result is a paradoxically beautiful volume on a rather ugly story. All levels. W. Arens SUNY at Stony Brook