What is the International Studies Group?

The International Studies Group (ISG) comprises postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and academics with an active research interest in histories of central and southern Africa in particular and African and global history more generally. It is headed by Ian Phimister, Senior University Research Professor and recognized globally as one of the leading historians on the region. It is host to three professors, 23 post-doctoral fellows, 16 research fellows and 22 PhD students. Members of the ISG specialize in histories of mining, regional histories of Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa; while colonialism, economic history and histories of race are running threads which connect much of the research which they undertake.

Doctoral students are trained via some of the best international pedagogies for research education in the critical humanities, namely close supervision by teams of supervisors, teaching and reading in groups, a strong seminar culture, and, where possible, exposure to intellectual styles at a range of international universities. Two enabling characteristics of the ISG are that researchers are encouraged to undertake extended visits to archives, and they receive support and advice in raising external funding. The ISG convenes a vibrant seminar program, and its suite of seminars ranks among the most comprehensive in the humanities in this country. Charles van Onselen, NRF A-rated scholar and one of the commanding figures in the discipline globally, declared that the ISG represents an ‘astounding achievement . . . without precedent in southern Africa over the last two decades; perhaps ever.'


The International Studies Group is generously supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.

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