Department of History

Jamie Miller

  • Postdoctoral Fellow

Fields

African History
Decolonisation
Global Cold War
Race and Ideology

Teaching

Africa since 1850
Africa before 1850
State-Building and the Post-Colonial Moment
Modern World History

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Cambridge, 2013

Representative Publications

An African Volk: The Apartheid Regime and its Search for Survival (Oxford University Press, 2016)

“Africanising Apartheid: Identity, Ideology, and State-Building in Independent Africa”, Journal of African History, fall 2015.

Research Interests

The dismantling of apartheid was one of the great causes of the post-war era. Its success remains a symbol of a progressive global community. My first book manuscript, under contract with Oxford University Press, looks at this phenomenon from the other side, exploring how the leaders of white South Africa sought to render apartheid viable in the post-colonial era. The existing literature agrees that the core of the apartheid regime’s foreign policy lay in resisting decolonisation and African nationalism in the name of white supremacy. My book reveals a more nuanced story. I show how the regime sought not to reject but to hijack the norms and values of the post-colonial era, appropriating and adapting them to relegitimise apartheid’s existing racial hierarchies. In search of long-term viability, the leaders of white South Africa endeavoured to reforge the ideological basis for their social order and corrode identifications of the regime as a brutal remnant of European colonialism in a most unexpected way: by redefining the white polity as an African and post-colonial entity. Energetic outreach to black Africa became the central engine of this ideological renewal and accompanying shift in state identity. I explain the political, social, and economic trends that led to this reconceptualisation within white South African society, as well as how and why independent Africa engaged with this program. I also chart resistance within the white polity on the home front.