Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Charles Aiken

Committee Members

Thomas Bell, Bruce Ralston, William Bruce Wheeler


South Africa and the American South have long shared historical and socioeconomic commonalities. Of these similarities, their histories of governmentally-mandated racial segregation are what most often led people to draw comparisons between the two areas. Likewise, South Africa and the American South for much of the 20th century were considered atypical or exceptional when compared to their geographically proximate neighbors. Hence, research by Fredrickson, Cell, Sparks, and others identify how these two areas, though halfway around the globe from one another, have mirrored and impacted one another.

With the demise of governmentally-mandated segregation in both areas, it is worth asking whether South Africa and the American South will continue to be similar to one another while being exceptional vis a vis their neighbors or whether this trait will fade. This dissertation uses a mixture of quantitatively-based research focusing on the cities of Bloemfontein, South Africa and Wilmington, North Carolina and more general qualitative analysis for South Africa and the American South to examine patterns of change during the transition from segregation to post-segregation periods in each region. It is argued that the end of segregation in South Africa and the American South may well have irrevocably set them on diverging paths as each becomes increasingly like their geographically proximate neighbors.

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