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Dr Nafisa Essop Sheik

Senior Lecturer
Name: Nafisa Essop Sheik
Location: A RING 241 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Historical Studies  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 0115594231


About Dr Nafisa Essop Sheik

Research Interests

History of Africa; Southern Africa; British Empire and Colonialism; Cultural History; Historiography, Theory and Intellectual History; Histories of Gender, Law and Labour (in particular, nineteenth century Post-Emancipation Labour Reforms, Colonial State-Making and the Making of Separate Spheres).

She is part of the transnational Mellon-funded Governing Intimacies Research Project and is a contributor to Reading for Water ,the first workshop on Hydrocolonialism, part of a project in the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based at WiSER . She completed a term as Julien and Virginia Cornell Visiting Professor in History at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania in the US.

Nafisa is currently completing a book manuscript to be published by Manchester University Press’s Series Governing Intimacies in the Global South, provisionally titled Colonial Rites: Sex, Law and States of Difference in a Nineteenth Century British South African Colony.

DPhil, University of Michigan (2012)
MSocSc, University of KwaZulu-Natal (2005)

Honours, History, University of Natal (2003)
Bachelor of Social Sciences, University of Natal (2002)


She has designed and taught courses on nineteenth and twentieth century Africa and Southern Africa; gender and sexuality; law and society in the modern world; American history; Empire and colonialism, the history of the Middle East; South and South East Asia and the history of sport in the modern world. My teaching interests also include theory and historiography.


‘Words on Black Water: Setting South African ‘Plantation Literature’ Afloat on the Kala Pani’, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, (Forthcoming, 2021)

‘Cultures of Sex: Age of Consent Laws and Difference-Making in a Nineteenth Century British Colony’, Law and History Review, Vol.38, No.1, 2020

‘Customs in Common: Marriage, Law and the Making of Difference in Colonial Natal’ Gender & History, Vol.29 No.3 November 2017, pp. 589–604.

Entangled Patriarchies: Sex, Gender and Relationality in the Forging of Natal: A Paper presented in Critical Tribute to Jeff Guy, South African Historical Journal, 68 (3) September 2016, 1-14

African Marriage Regulation and the Remaking of Gendered Authority in Colonial Natal, 1843-1875′, African Studies Review, 57 (02) September 2014, 73-92.

‘Making the Personal Civil: The Protector’s Office and the Administration of Indian Personal Law in Colonial Natal, 1872-1907’ Journal of Natal and Zulu History, 23 (2005/6), 43-72​

‘Fragmenting Contexts and Contextualising Fragments’, Journal of Natal and Zulu History, 21 (2003), 95-108