The Department of History is one of the leading History departments in South Africa. Areas of specialization in the Department are women and gender studies, public history, visual history, land and agrarian history, liberation history, urban history, African history, and teacher education.

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  • Unspoken inequality: How COVID-19 has exacerbated existing vulnerabilities of asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented migrants in South Africa 

    Mukumbang, Ferdinand C.; Ambe, Anthony N.; Adebiyi, Babatope O. (Springer Nature, 2020)
    An estimated 2 million foreign-born migrants of working age (15-64) were living in South Africa (SA) in 2017. Structural and practical xenophobia has driven asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented migrants in SA to ...
  • Mapping Bodies 

    Minkley, Emma (University of the Western Cape, 2018)
    The images in the visual essay that follows this text are drawn from a set of partnered art events, the Museum of Truth and Reconciliation and Double Portrait/Haunting Objects. The latter took place at the University of ...
  • Bureaucratically missing: Capital punishment, exhumations, and the afterlives of state documents and photographs 

    van Laun, Bianca (University of the Western Cape, 2018)
    For their families, the bodies of many of those hanged by the apartheid state remain missing and missed. Judicial executions, and the corpses they produced, were hidden from the scrutiny of the public and the press. While ...
  • Missing and missed: Rehumanisation, the nation and missing-ness 

    Rousseau, Nicky; Moosage, Riedwaan; Rassool, Ciraj (University of the Western Cape, 2018)
    The bringing together of two lines of research that have previously been treated separately – namely the missing/missed body of apartheid-era atrocities and the racialised body of the colonial museum – animates this issue ...
  • African history in context: Toward a praxis of radical education 

    Benson, Koni; Gamedze, Asher; Koranteng, Akosua (Taylor & Francis Group, 2018)
    This chapter reflects on the context, process, and challenges of the Know Your Continent (KYC) popular education course which we ran in Cape Town in the second half of 2015. KYC brought together people from local high ...
  • Feminist activist archives: Towards a living history of the Gender Education Training Network (GETNET) 

    Benson, Koni (UNISA Press, 2018)
    This article engages the dilemmas and challenges of writing histories of the recent past, and of the political agendas of intervening in those histories in the present. This is done through producing an archive of documentation ...
  • The blur of history: Student protest and photographic clarity in South African universities, 2015–2016 

    Hayes, Patricia (University of the Western Cape, 2017)
    I have three points I would like to put forward – about strong photographs, about clarity and about blur. I also have a number of photographs dating from October 2015 at the University of the Western Cape that will be ...
  • Betwixt the oceans: The Chief Immigration Officer in Cape Town, Clarence Wilfred Cousins (1905–1915) 

    Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma (Taylor & Francis, 2016)
    Drawing on the personal and official papers of an immigration officer, this article highlights his personality, social life, and the quotidian aspects of his work at the port. By placing the officer at the centre, instead ...
  • Eastern Cape Bloodlines I: Assembling the Human 

    Rousseau, Nicky (Taylor & Francis, 2016)
    This is an article less about red as installation, colour or symbol, and more about assembly.1 I have used Red, the installation by Simon Gush, as provocation to think of exhumation, its work and processes of ...
  • Durban and Cape Town as port cities: Reconsidering Southern African studies from the Indian Ocean 

    Hofmeyr, Isabel; Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma; Kaarsholm, Preben (Taylor & Francis, 2016)
    This special issue arose out of a workshop titled ‘Durban and Cape Town as Indian Ocean Port Cities: Reconsidering Southern African Studies from the Indian Ocean’, held at the University of the Western Cape in September ...
  • ‘The voices of the people involved’: Red, representation and histories of labour 

    Witz, Leslie (Published by History Department, University of the Western Cape, 2016)
    The installation artwork Red by Simon Gush (with his collaborators James Cairns and Mokotjo Mohulo) evokes two senses of representation. One is of symbolism, meaning, visual strategies, juxtapositions, silences and so on. ...
  • Red assembly: The work remains 

    Witz, Leslie; Pohlandt-McCormick, Helena; Minkley, Gary; Mowitt, John (Published by History Department, University of the Western Cape, 2016)
    The work that emerged from the encounter with Red, an art installation by Simon Gush and his collaborators, in the workshop ‘Red Assembly’, held in East London in August 2015, is assembled here in Kronos, the journal of ...
  • Re-locating memories: transnational and local narratives of Indian South Africans in Cape Town 

    Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma (SAGE Publications, 2017)
    This article plays on the word re-location to examine the memories of Indians in South Africa through oral histories about relocation as a result of the Group Areas Act, to memories of parents and grandparents relocating ...
  • Mueda massacre: the musical archive 

    Israel, Paolo (Taylor & Francis, 2017)
    As in Pidjiguiti in Guiné-Bissau or Baixa de Cassanje in Angola, the massacre that occurred in the northern Mozambican town of Mueda on 16 June 1960 has been inscribed in the nationalist narrative as the breaking point ...
  • Shades of empire: police photography in German South-West Africa 

    Rizzo, Lorena (Taylor & Francis, 2013)
    This article looks at a photographic album produced by the German police in colonial Namibia just before World War I. Late 19th- and early 20th-century police photography has often been interpreted as a form of visual ...
  • Cape Indians, Apartheid and Higher Education 

    Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma (University of the Western Cape, 2013)
    On a Sunday afternoon, 15 November 2009, the Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg was filled to capacity as Indians in Cape Town gathered to launch the Cape Town 1860 Legacy Foundation in preparation for the 2010 events commemorating ...
  • Untangling the Lion's Tale: Violent masculinity and the ethics of biography in the 'Curious' case of the apartheid-era policeman Donald Card 

    Bank, Leslie J.; Bank, Andrew (Routledge Taylor Francis Group, 2013)
    Donald Card (1928–) is a former policeman in South Africa who became the subject of international media attention on 21 September 2004. In a highly publicised and symbolic ceremony of reconciliation inaugurating the ...
  • Towards a critical heritage studies 

    Rassool, Ciraj (Taylor & Francis, 2013)
    Anna Karlström’s article made me think of the inaugural conference of the International Association of Critical Heritage Studies held in Gothenburg in June 2012. At the conference, heritage scholars and graduate ...
  • Paper regimes 

    Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma (University of the Western Cape, 2014)
    In 1915 Baba Bapoo, a store assistant in Cape Town, was thrown into a state of great mental and emotional stress when he lost his permit en route to India. This was the only document that could guarantee his re-admission ...
  • Speaking about building Rylands (1960s to 1980s): a Cape Flats history 

    Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Uma (Taylor and Francis, 2014)
    This article draws on oral histories of Rylands, a former Indian group area on the Cape Flats. It shifts focus from narratives of dispossession to narratives of the making of a relocation site. The Cape Flats has generally ...

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