From Racial Contract to Social Contract: A Comparative Study of Post-Jim Crow America and Post-Apartheid South Africa

Document Type



Our objectives were to investigate and decipher similarities and differences between Jim Crowe segregation found in the Southern United States and Apartheid South Africa. While assessing the cultural, political, and institutional ramifications of ascribed racial classifications and racial separation, both Dr. Christopher Malone and I visited post-Apartheid South Africa during our studies. I attended the University of Stellenbosch for a nine-month exchange period. Dr. Malone visited the nation during a classroom exchange through a global service course. These first-hand experiences in South Africa gave us a better understanding of South African society both from a historical and present-day perspective. Our inquiry not only provided us with a better understanding of a racist and power-driven society, but also brought to light the corruption of political gerrymandering and the despicable aspects of discrimination and disfranchisement. The comparative study we conducted has benefited me greatly as I plan to study racial relations and other variables that influence the electoral and democratic process. I thank the committee and Dr. Malone for allowing me to conduct this research and for allowing me to travel to such an amazing continent.

Information about the Student Author

Class of 2005, Major: Political Science and English

Summary of Research Experience

I was awarded the Eugene Lang Research Grant for completion of my senior thesis, “Racial Contract to Social Contract: A Comparative Study of Jim Crowe America and Apartheid South Africa.” This honorary award not only enabled me to work extensively with Dr. Christopher Malone, it also provided me with the research skills and academic context needed to complete a historical/qualitative study concerning radical social policy and concentrated systems of power. Also through this project I was privileged to study with famed South African democratization expert and political scientist, Willie Breytenbach and with the economist, Sampie Tereblanche. This endeavor has not only strengthened my academic prowess but also provided me highly revered post-apartheid social with the rewarding experience of participating in a scholarly research project.

Dissemination of Results

As of present, no publications or presentations have been submitted; however, Dr. Malone and I are pursuing further endeavors concerning this project. I graduated in May 2005. I was honored to have been selected to be the student speaker during the New York City commencement. I shared with the audience assembled in Radio City Music Hall the lessons that I had learned in South Africa and from my Eugene M. Lang student-faculty research project with Dr. Malone.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Christopher Malone, Assistant Professor of Political Science

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