Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Advertising and market research in pursuit of ‘the black consumer’

25 February 2019, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

mobilgas advert

This is part of the lecture series 'Racial Material: the politics of consumption in South Africa, c 1870 – 1970' by Deborah Posel, Leverhulme Visiting Professor. More dates in the description.

This event is free.

Event Information

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Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Common Ground
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

Jan 21, 6-8pm 
Whiteness in abundance: the order of things in the late 19th century

Feb 04, 6-8pm 
Car troubles: race on the road

Feb 25, 6-8pm 
Advertising and market research in pursuit of ‘the black consumer’

Mar 11, 6-8pm 
Zonk magazine and the commercialization of blackness, 1948 – 1964

Leverhulme trust

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About the Speaker

Deborah Posel

Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Institute of Advanced Studies

Professor Deborah Posel is the Founding Director of the Institute for the Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town and is Leverhulme Visiting Professor for the academic year 2018-19 at the Institute of Advanced Studies.  Professor Posel is a leading scholar of modern South Africa and the culture/history of Apartheid. Her current research addresses the interconnection of consumerism and material history (the biographies of things, their use, agency and distribution) with race in the colonial and postcolonial setting as well as the anxieties and contradictions entailed in conceiving of consumerism in racialised terms. ‘Race’, in Posel’s scholarship, is not a purely theoretical proposition but is embodied through modes of address (advertising, branding, packaging) and the circulation/display of goods. This complicates conventional understanding of the effects of Apartheid’s legislative segregation to account for identities as constituted through everyday activities and a relationship to things.

Professor Posel’s presence will expose post-graduate students, researchers, tutors and the public to this approach, which has relevance beyond the specificity of South African history/politics and speaks both to the tenacity of race as a concept and its insidious reach/effects. She will deliver a series of public Leverhulme lectures entitled ‘Consumerism and the Making of Race in Modern South Africa’ that will deal with the politics of consumerism and its role in ‘race-making’ in the colonial and post-colonial setting. Her Visiting Professorship will also enhance current MA teaching in African Studies, History of Art, South African History and ‘race’ theory through existing courses.

More about Deborah Posel