Monica Hunter Wilson: Anthropology and Social Justice

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Book Chapter

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Publication Title

Reaction to Conquest: Effects of Contact with Europeans on the Pondo of South Africa


'I do like the work', Monica Hunter wrote to her mother in 1931, just a few months into the research that led to this book. 'Even if I don't write anything I have learnt an enormous amount of value to myself.' 86 Her research would have a much wider significance than she then suspected, of course, and with a Special Grant and a Fellowship from the International African Institute (IAI) 87 for her fieldwork, and publication assistance from the IAI, the South African Research Grant Board, and Carnegie, Reaction to Conquest (hereinafter often referred to as RTC) was published in July 1936, followed by a second edition in 1961, and an abridged paperback edition in 1979. The ethnography sheds light on an important moment in the history of social anthropology and documents a critical time in the history of the Transkeian region of South Africa. Reaction to Conquest was Monica Wilson's first major work, based on the research that earned her a doctorate in social anthropology from Cambridge, and it is the foundation of the author's significant career as a politically relevant anthropologist. 88


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