South Africa: The Road to Apartheid
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
10 June 2020
Requisites for this module
Apartheid became notorious in the latter half of the twentieth century as a byword for racial discrimination and oppression. Although it was particularly associated with state policy in South Africa from the mid-twentieth century onwards, it built upon foundations laid earlier and was, in many ways, a repressive response to a movement for black rights led by people such as Nelson Mandela.
This module explains how South Africa took the 'apartheid turn' but it also demonstrates how the country had long been on a road of increasing racial discrimination. The core of this module is the historical experience of South Africa from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, when the National Party came to power on its apartheid platform.
The aim of the course is to give students a thorough understanding of the historical forces and struggles which gave rise to the segregationist state in South Africa. It aims to overturn common assumptions about South Africa such as those which attribute the country's institutionalisation of racism merely to the alleged peculiarities of its 'white tribe', the Afrikaners.
The topics traversed include: the role of British imperialism in the founding of the South African state; the particularities of the country's economic development; Afrikaner and African nationalism; the development of racial segregation; the experience of peasants and workers, and the role of labour and agrarian movements. Key protest movements are also analysed.
The aim of the course is to give students a thorough understanding of the long term processes and struggles that gave rise to increasing racial discrimination and, ultimately, to the apartheid state in South Africa.
It aims to overturn common assumptions about South Africa such as those which attribute the country's institutionalisation of racism merely to the alleged peculiarities of its 'white tribe', the Afrikaners.
Another objective is to demonstrate the importance of key popular struggles, and the state's response to them, in shaping South African history.
The course also seeks to elucidate general theories - for example, those pertaining to nationalism or social transformation - through their application to, and illustration by, South African material.
Students will understand the complex forces that led to the development of the racial order in South Africa; they will be able to assess how a range of movements and struggles moulded South African history; students should also be able to apply what they have learned (for example, about the origins of a particular war, or the nature of nationalism, or the emergence of a working class) to other contexts.
For introductory reading, see:
W. Beinart, Twentieth-Century South Africa
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom
N. Worden, The Making of Modern South Africa
In all cases, please focus on material covering the late-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
One-hour lecture and one-hour seminar per week.
This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Document analysis (1500 words)
||Essay (3000 words)
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Jeremy Krikler, email: email@example.com.
Dr Jeremy Krikler
Belinda Waterman, Department of History, 01206 872313
Dr Simon Rofe
University of London
Reader in Diplomatic and International Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 1379 hours, 20 (1.5%) hours available to students:
1359 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
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