Modernity’s Rush: Time, Space, and Race in the Shadows of the Diamond Fields

  • Lindsay Weiss


This chapter examines the material dynamics of the emergent nineteenth-century culture of speculation and finance capital on the Diamond Fields of South Africa. I am interested in understanding how the relationship between the speculative spirit of rush camps, and the physical routes of traded diamonds conspired to transform the Diamond Fields into what later would become one of the first projects of urban segregation in South Africa. To understand these changes, it is important to explore the discursive spaces that were forming in the wake of the diamond rush, as the fields were essentially transformed by the work of illicitly that traded thousands of tiny diamonds. In many ways, the socially repressive turn that life on the Diamond Fields took in the late nineteenth century, participates in broader dynamics in the culture of finance capital, in which shareholder anxiety and the security of the commodity became determinative of the political form.


Diamond Finance capital Modernity Illicit economies Labor Commodity Nineteenth century South Africa 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford Archaeology Center & Department of AnthropologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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