This talk will explore the persistence of apartheid geographies in the city of Durban, South Africa through an examination of movements of communities living in shacks. It will draw on recent literature on cities in the global south that emphasizes a more expansive conception of agency among the world’s poor by foregrounding the importance of understanding forms of quiet encroachment and insurgency present in social non-movements. At the same time, this talk will insist that scholars of global studies remain attentive to more explicit and organized political formations among the urban poor. The presentation therefore probes the political mobilization by shack dwellers in Durban for the lessons it might offer debates taking place around the world in the broader alter-globalization network regarding claims to space, mobilizations of race, and the dialectic between state and movement powers.

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