Rory Pilossof 1
Dr Rory Pilossof holds positions in the International Studies Group and at the School of History at the University of Kent, UK, where he is a visiting fellow. He primarily works on the economic and social history of southern Africa. His main interests are land, labour and the process of decolonisation in the region.

Dr Pilossof undertook his undergraduate degrees at the University of Cape Town and then moved to do his PhD at the University of Sheffield, under the supervision of Professor Ian Phimister. After the PhD, he took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pretoria before moving to the UFS in 2013.


The unbearable whiteness of being: Farmers’ voices from Zimbabwe (University of Cape Town Press, Cape Town; Weaver Press, Harare: 2012).
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals
[with Jacob Boersema] ‘Not all whites are farmers: Urban whites and white privilege in post-colonial Zimbabwe’, Africa, vol. 87, no. 4 (2017): 702-719.

[with Andrew Cohen] ‘Big Business and white insecurities at the end of empire in southern Africa, c.1961-1977’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 45, no. 5 (2017): 777-799.

‘White on white: Real and imagined crises in white southern Africa’, Historia, vol. 62, no. 1 (2017): 92-106.

[with Ian Phimister], ‘Wage labor in historical perspective: a study of the de-proletarianization of the African working class in Zimbabwe, 1960–2010’, Labour History, vol. 58, no. 2, (2017): 215-227.

‘Possibilities and constraints of market-led land reforms in southern Africa: An analysis of transfers of commercial farmland in post-colonial Zimbabwe, 1980-2000’, Journal of Agrarian Change, vol. 16, no. 1 (2016): 32-49.

‘Reinventing significance: Reflections on Recent Whiteness Studies in Zimbabwe’, Africa Spectrum, vol. 49, no. 3 (2014): 135-148.

‘Labour relations in Zimbabwe from 1900 to 2000: Sources, interpretations and understandings’, History in Africa, vol. 41 (2014): 337-362.

‘Fantasy and reality: Fast-track land reform in Zimbabwe and the new beneficiaries’, Journal of Agrarian Change, vol. 14, no. 1 (2014): 146-152.

‘For farmers, by farmers: Using The Farmer magazine to write the history of white farmers in Zimbabwe’, Media History, vol. 19, no. 1 (2013): 32-44.

‘“The future is bright” versus “The future is bleak”: A comparison of recent documentaries on land reform in Zimbabwe’, Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 38, no. 4 (2012): 1007-1011


Over the course of his career, Dr Pilossof has won a range of awards and prizes. In 2016 he was the principal investigator on an Advanced Newton Fellowship bid, which won £94,000 in funding for a three-year project on labour (2016-2019). In 2016 Dr Pilossof also received an NRF Rating (Y1), and in 2017 he was inducted into the South African Young Academy of Science.

During the course of his undergraduate and postgraduate studies, Dr Pilossof won a range of funding scholarships, including an Overseas Research Studentship, Sheffield University (2007-2010), University of Sheffield Studentship (2007-2010), University of Sheffield Fee Scholarship (2007-2010), Beit Trust Emergency Support Fund (2008-2009), Royal Historical Society Research Funding (2009), Charles Struben Scholarship (2006), and Ernest Oppenheimer Trust Bursary (2006).



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