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Dr Nicole Ulrich

Senior Lecturer, History Department, and Research Associate, Neil Aggett Labour Unit

BA, MA, PhD (Wits)



Nicole Ulrich is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department. She is also a Research Associate at NALSU and an Associate of the History Workshop, University of the Witwatersrand.  She has held a visiting fellowship at the Centre for African Studies, Cambridge University, an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Rhodes/ UCKAR and an Andrew Mellon PhD fellowship at the Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WISER).  Currently based in Makhanda (Grahamstown), she is also involved with Isikumbuzo Applied History Project, which has a strong community emphasis, and works with Grade 12 History learners through GADRA Education.

Nicole is a labour historian interested in the organisation, political ideas and identities of labouring classes in southern Africa and their location in global traditions of radicalism and flows of labour. Her research focuses on workers’ organisations in the 1970s, and the solidarities and transnational connections forged by slaves, servants, sailors and soldiers in the colonial Cape during the Age of Revolution c. 1770- 1830. 

Teaching Areas

  • Themes in Southern African History: popular classes and the Making of Cape Colonial Society (1652- 1820).  
  • Africa Maritime: an overview of the history of Africa and the Indian Ocean, with the focus on types and flows of labour, resistance, and piracy.  
  • History of Labour and the Left in South Africa and the Global South: alternative radical popular intellectual traditions and labour movements and struggles.
  • Historiography: Social History and Global Labour History  

Select Publications

  • Sian Byrne, Nicole Ulrich and Lucien van der Walt, 2017, "Red, Black and Gold: FOSATU, South African 'Workerism,' 'Syndicalism' and the Nation," in Edward Webster and Karin Pampillas (eds.), 2017, The Unresolved National Question in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 254-273.
  • Sian Byrne and Nicole Ulrich, 2016, "Prefiguring Democratic Revolution? ‘Workers’ control’ and ‘workerist’ traditions of radical South African labour, 1970–1985," Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 34 (3): 368-387.
  • Nicole Ulrich, “From Servants to British Subjects: Citizenship, Khoesan labour, and the making of the modern colonial state, 1652-1815”, in Emma Hunter (ed.) Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa: dialogue between past and present (Ohio University Press, 2016).
  • Nicole Ulrich, 2015 “Cape of Storms: Rethinking Popular Protest in Eighteenth Century South Africa,” New Contree, 73, 16-39.
  • Nicole Ulrich, 2014, “Popular-Community in Eighteenth-Century Southern Africa: Family, Fellowship, Alternative Networks, and Mutual Aid at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1795”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 40 (6), 1139-1157.
  • Nicole Ulrich, 2013, “International Radicalism, Local Solidarities: the 1979 British Naval Mutinies in Southern African Waters”, International Review of Social History, 58, 61- 85.
  • Nicole Ulrich, “International Radicalism, Local Solidarities: the 1979 British Naval Mutinies in Southern African Waters” in C. Anderson; N. Frykman; N. Lex Heerman van Vos, and M. Rediker (eds.) Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2013). 
  • Nicole Ulrich, 2010, “Time, Space, and Political Economy of Merchant Colonialism in the Cape of Good Hope and VOC World”, South African Historical Journal, 62 (3), 571-588.
  • Nicole Ulrich, 2009, “Dr Anders Sparrman: Travelling with the Labouring Poor in the Late Eighteenth-Century Cape”, South African Historical Journal 61(4), 731-749.
  • Nicole Ulrich, “Abolition from below: the 1808 revolt in the Cape Colony” in Marcel van der Linden (ed.), “Humanitarian Intervention” and Changing Labour Relations: Long-term Consequences of the British Act on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1807 (Brill, 2011), 193-222.
  • Nicole Ulrich, “Nur die Freiheit stillt den Durst’: Schulerstreik, Afstand und Generalstreiks in Sudafrika 1976”, in Marcks, H and Matthias, S (eds.), Die groBen streiks: episoden aus dem klassenkampf (Unrast, 2008), 154-160.
  • Cynthia Kros and Nicole Ulrich, “The Truth of Tales: Oral Testimony and Teaching History in Schools”, in P. Denis and R. Ntsimane (eds.) Oral History in a Wounded Country: interactive interviewing in South Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2008), 85-108.
  • Martin Legassick, David Hemson, and Nicole Ulrich, “The Revival of the Workers Movement”, Road to Democracy in South Africa, 1970- 1980, Volume 2 (University of South Africa, 2006), 243-316. 

Last Modified: Tue, 12 Sep 2017 12:15:20 SAST