Department of History Department of History

Department of History

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​​​​​​Welcome to the Department of History!

We are a group of ten scholars whose research specialities are regions of South African and global history from the early modern era through to the present. Studying history enhances our understanding of how the world we live in has come to be, and our awareness of how societies and different cultures function and change over time.

The skills which historians possess include the ability to conduct different kinds of reseaerch using archival, oral and literary sources, amongst others. Additionally, they possess the ability to read critically and write articulately, making and analysing arguments on the basis of evidence. These sought-after skills are crucia​l for work in the fields of journalism, heritage practice, education, government/civil service as well as non-governmental and corporate work.​

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Upcoming events:

 Invitation to All Expenses Paid Kruger Post-Graduate Workshop, Week ofJune 10-16

Applications from MA and PhD students are requested for an all-expenses paid 3 day workshop on humans and nature in the Kruger National Park during the week of June 10-16 (exact dates tbd). The workshop will teach post-graduate students to think about the Park and other human-nature contexts through a multi-disciplinary framework. Students will be required to undertake readings from history, philosophy, anthropology, ecology, psychology and more. There will be daily excursions into the field with armed game guards to learn about key processes structuring the biophysical and socio-ecological systems in and around the Park. 

The seminar is open to students from any faculty but students must have some expressed interest in the human side of environmental issues, including but not limited to water, climate change, indigenous knowledge, biodiversity. All expenses are paid for. 

Students are required to write a one page proposal on how the trip fits in with current and future career plans. Also provide information on degree programme being undertaken and GPA (undergrad and honours). Please say if you have been to the Kruger National Park or a wilderness area before.  Submissions are due to Prof Brett Bennett - by 25 May. 


Meet our 2019 postgraduate students:

Akwasi Kwarteng Amoako-Gyampah Pic.jpgBasetsana Tsuwane Pic.jpgCaroline Maila Pic.jpg

Akwasi Kwarteng Amoako-Gyampah, PhD History   Basetsana Tsuwane , MA History            Caroline Maila, BA Hons History  

Charmaine Hlongwane Pic.jpgFathima Mayet Pic1.jpgHeike Verhoef Pic.jpg

Charmaine Thenjiwe Hlongwane, PhD History                   Fathima Zahra Mayet, MA History       Heike Verhoef, BA Hons African Studies 

Jewel Khosa Pic1.jpgLoyola Nyathi Pic.jpegLungelo Ndzimande Pic1.jpg

Jewel Khoza, BA Hons History              Loyola Nyathi, BA Hons History                          Lungelo Ndzimande, MA History

Mark Hackney Pic.jpgMarzia Mbuyi Pic1.jpgMatshela Mmaphuti Pic.jpg
Mark Hackney, PhD History                        Marzia Mbuyi, BA Hons History                Matshela Mmaphuti, BA Hons African Studies

Msawenkosi Nzimande Pic.jpgMthetheli Khumalo Pic.pngNokubongwa Mthembu Pic.jpg
Msawenkosi Nzimande, MA History     Mthetheleli Edwin Khumalo, BA Hons History      Nokubongwa Mthembu, BA Hons History

Nhlanhla Mhlongo Pic.jpgNikiwe Veshe Pic.jpgPerside Ndandu Pic.jpg
Nhlanhla Mhlongo, BA Hons African studies               Nikiwe Veshe, BA Hons History                         Perside NdanduMA History

Phumla Nkosi Pic.jpgReatlegile Masube Pic.jpgSamuel Abdullahi Pic.jpg
Phumla Nkosi, MA History                                       Reatlegile Masube, MA History                                Samuel AbdullahiPhD History

Sfiso Jiyane Pic.jpgThandeka Madi Pic.jpg Ruslan Mustafa Pic.jpg
 Sfiso Jiyane, MA History                                 Thandeka Madi, MA History               Ruslan Mustafa, BA Hons History 

Cinderella Picture.jpgLucky Zimba Pic1.jpgGugu Manzini Pic.jpg

Cinderella Temitope Ochu, PhD History             Lucky Zimba, BA Hons History       Nomthandazo Gugu Manzini, MA History

Call for papers (SAHUDA-NIHSS Conference 2019) 

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Call for Papers

'Time, Thought and Materiality and the Fourth Industrial Revolution'

2019 SAHUDA-NIHSS Conference 2019

3-4 September 2019

University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Organized by the UJ Faculty of Humanities

Across global society a diversity of new technologies – disruptive, constraining and enabling in complex ways - are changing not only the ways that we live, love and work, but the very conceptual tools through which we understand human (co) existence in and with the world. For many the culmination of the diverse political and socio-economic implications of these technological changes, and the epistemological and even ontological implications they carry, amount to something greater; that we are entering a Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR. For many, this revolution is potentially 'time defining'. That is, its transformative potential may come to define an age of human existence, much like the notion of the 'anthropocene' has come to constitute a particular temporal epoch (one that is perhaps the other side of the 4IR coin and is certainly not an unrelated phenomena or concept). Like this sibling notion, 4IR has begun to acquire wider cultural and political capital, and intellectual traction, beyond the niche circles of engineers, technicians and policy buffs from where it first came. In 2016, the World Economic Forum defined 4IR as consisting of those "technological developments that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres…it integrates cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things, big data and cloud computing, robotics and artificial intelligence-based systems". It is still too early to judge whether we are indeed in the early phases of yet another industrial revolution, although something like a consensus is emerging. But what is clear is that new technologies, and the apparent accelerating pace of technological change, is reshaping our political, ecological, and social environments in profound ways; shaping new ways of living, working and dying, and new forms of knowing, thinking and existence. These changes at once inspire both techno-optimism and techno-pessimism. They create both opportunities for better lives, governance and equality, and risk deepening existing exclusions, inequalities and precarity. Just as the any consensus about 4IR remains contested and emergent, so these verdicts remain uncertain: full of danger and opportunity in equal, undecided, measures.

In this context it becomes particularly urgent for the humanities to become part of the conversation around the 4IR. The stakes are simply to high – for good or for ill (and everything in between) – for this discussion to be left to the natural sciences. More to the point, the new frames of knowing and being that the 4IR provokes, collapse conventional distinctions between different arms of the intellectual activity in academy. The humanities are already involved in 4IR, like it or not, and so this conference seeks to explore what forms that involvement in 4IR can and should be, and has already taken. We ask how the humanities are already part of this revolution, if that is what it is, and what roles they should play to shape it in a way that avoid the pitfalls of extreme inequality, exclusion and precarity that previous industrial revolutions engendered. The theme for this 2019 SAHUDA conference is therefore "Time, Thought and Materiality in the Fourth Industrial Revolution' to reflect, firstly, how 4IR embodies profound temporal propositions, even as it is also often understood to effect a speeding up of time and a compression of space. And secondly, because at its conceptual core lies an attempt to reconceptualise how thinking and doing, meaning and matter, existence and understanding are relationally constituted and mutually dependent. Our focus on the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" is therefore not intended to constrain intellectual engagement, but rather, interpreted imaginatively, to foster new forms of analysis and scholarly collaboration around what the consequences might be of the self-evident acceleration of 'technologically advancement' on human conditions and existence in and with the world.

The conference will cover the following seven themes:

Student Panel

If you are interested in submitting a paper for one of these themes, please contact Dr Dawn Nagar ( the conference coordinator directly.

The deadline for the submission of paper proposals is 20 April 2019. All proposals should include: 1) Proposed paper title, 2) Author name(s) and contact information, 3) Author affiliation(s) and position(s), 3) A 100-200 word abstract and 4) The name of the panel for which the paper is being proposed.