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Dr Stephen Sparks

Dr Stephen Sparks
Faculty of Humanities
Department of
Historical Studies
Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27 (0)11 559 2006
Auckland Park Kingsway Campus C-Ring 716A

I did my undergraduate, Honours and MA degrees in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban before doing my PhD in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I was appointed to the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Johannesburg in July 2012.

My specialised research interests are in apartheid South Africa, modernism, nationalism, the history of town planning, the history of science and technology, industrial development and everyday life under apartheid. I am beginning preparation of a manuscript entitled 'Apartheid Modern: Science, Industry and Society in South Africa'. I also have a special interest in historiography.




DPhil, University of Michigan, Anthro and History (2012)

MA, History, University of KwaZulu-Natal (2004)

Honours History, University of Natal (2002)

BA, University of Natal (2001)



Editorial Board of Transformation: Critical Perspectives on southern Africa


Since joining the University of Johannesburg I have taught undergraduate courses on South African history, American history and honours courses on South Asian, African history and global and South African historiography. I am currently co-teaching a first year survey of South African history, offering a third year class on Global Histories of Consumerism and an honours seminar on global trends in theory and historiography. 


(2002) ‘’Playing at Public Health’: The Search for Control in South Durban, 1860-1932′ in Journal of Natal and Zulu History, Volume 20: 2002

(2005) “ …they say that they do not know this disease”: Epidemic influenza in Rural Natal. Journal of Natal and Zulu History, Volume 23.

(2006) ‘Civil Society, Pollution and the Wentworth Oil Refinery’ Historia 51:11, 201-233

(2013) 'Review Article: New Turks and Old Turks: The historiographical legacies of South African social history' Historia 58:1, 215-239

(2016) Between ‘Artificial Economics’ and the ‘Discipline of the Market’: Sasol from Parastatal to Privatisation’ Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 42, No. 4 711–724