Duane Jethro’s Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Aesthetics of Power (Bloomsbury, 2020) is a terrific book. In it, Jethro develops a novel analytical framework to understand the relationship between the senses (taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch) and heritage formation. Heritage formation and the senses are intimately linked as foundational processes, important for untangling how heritage is actually nation-building and nation-building is better understood through material culture. Jethro’s interdisciplinary study makes an important contribution to sensory studies, memory studies and the material turn in the humanities and social sciences.
Susan Thomson is an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University. I like to interview pretenure scholars about their research. I am particularly keen on their method and methodology, as well as the process of producing academic knowledge about African places and people.