Prison Hunger Strikes and Globalizing the Anti- Apartheid Struggle

Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room
  • Nayan Shah

In 1989 more than 700 South African political prisoners went on indefinite hunger strike to protest their detention. The unprecedented scale forced the South Africian government to release hundreds of incapacitated prisoners into public hospitals and enabled the active intevention of progressive medical professionals, social workers and human rights lawyers.

The presentation explores the widespread impact of these events in galvanizing the anti-apartheid struggle, energizing international human rights organizations and propelling the new international medical protocols on the ethical care of political prisoners on hunger strike.

Nayan Shah is Professor and chair of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern california. He is the author of Contagious Divides,Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown (Universty of California Press, 2001) and Stranger Intimacy Contesting Race Sexuality and Law in the North American West (University of California Press 2011) which was awarded the Norris and Carol Hundley Prize by the American Historical Association PAcific Branch for the most distinguished book on any historical subject. Since 2011 Shah is co-editor with Beth Freeman of GLO, The Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.

Co-sponsored by: American Studies, Comparative Literature. Modern Thought and Literature, History,Theater Arts and Performance Studies