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Prof. Nicole Ulrich

 BA, MA, PhD (Wits)


Nicole Ulrich is Associate Professor in the History Department. She is also a member of the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (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: labour 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, the left and the economic history in South Africa and the Global South: alternative radical popular intellectual traditions, labour movements and struggles.
  • Social history and global labour history.


Book chapter,  '"Journeying into Freedom": Traditions of Desertion at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1795’, in (eds.) Marcus Rediker, Titas Chakraborty, and Matthias van Rossum (eds.) A Global History of Runaways: Workers, Mobility and Capitalism, 1600-1850 (University of California Press, 2019): 115-134.

Book chapter, ‘Between Reform and Revolution: The Cape’s Popular Classes under British Rule During the Age of Revolution, c. 1803- 1814’, Kate Fullagar and Michael McDonnel (eds.) Facing Empire: indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age (University of John Hopkins Press, 2018): 163-191.

Book chapter, (and Sian Byrne) ‘Prefiguring Democratic Revolution? "Workers’ Control" and "Workerist" Traditions of Radical South African Labour, 1970–1985’, in Kirk Helliker and Lucien van der Walt (eds.), Politics at a Distance from the State: Radical and African Perspectives (Routledge, 2018): 60-79.

Book Chapter, (and Sian Byrne and Lucien van der Walt) ‘Red, Black and Gold: FOSATU, South African "Workerism", "Syndicalism" and the Nation’, in Edward Webster and Karin Pampillas (eds.) The Unresolved National Question in South Africa (Wits University Press. 2017): 254-273.

Book chapter, ‘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): 43-73.

Journal article, (and Sian Byrne), ‘Prefiguring Democratic Revolution? "Workers’ Control" and "Workerist" Traditions of Radical South African Labour, 1970-1985’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 34:3 (2016): 368-387.

Journal article, ‘Cape of Storms: Rethinking Popular Protest in Eighteenth Century South Africa’, New Contree, 73 (2016): 16-39.

Journal article, ‘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 (2014): 1139-1157 --- Impact factor 0.681

Book review, Review of: Lilja Fredrick, The Golden Fleece of the Cape: Capitalist Expansion and Labour Relations in the Periphery of Transnational Wool Production c.1860–1950, in International Review of Social History, 59:1 (2014): 139-140.

Journal article, ‘International Radicalism, Local Solidarities: The 1979 British Naval Mutinies in Southern African Waters’, International Review of Social History, 58 (2013), 61-85 --- Impact factor 0.511.

Book chapter, ‘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: A Global Survey (Cambridge University Press, 2013).  
Book review, Review of: David Johnson, Imagining the Cape Colony: History, Literature and the South African Nation, in Scrutiny 2, 85-89.

Book review, Review of: Kally Forrest, Metal That Will Not Bend, in Wits Review (2012).

Book chapter, ‘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.

Journal article, ‘Time, Space, and Political Economy of Merchant Colonialism in the Cape of Good Hope and VOC World', South African Historical Journal, 62:3 (2010): 571-588 --- Impact Factor 0.302

Journal article, ‘Dr Anders Sparrman: Travelling with the Labouring Poor in the Late Eighteenth-Century Cape’, South African Historical Journal,  61:4 (2009): 731-749--- impact factor 0.302

Reference entries - In Immanuel Ness et al (eds.) International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest (Blackwell Publishing, 2009).

  • Neil Aggett (p: 2627)
  • J B Marks (p: 2222)
  • Moses Myekiso (pp: 2264-2265)
  • Andries Raditsela (p: 2801)
  • (and Lucien van der Walt) Ray Alexander Simon (pp: 3039-3040)
  • (and Lucien van der Walt) South Africa, Labour Movement (pp: 3090-3099).

Reference entry, (and Philip Bonner, John Hyslop, Lucien van der Walt, Andries Bezuidenhout) ‘Workers Movements’ in Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009): 1121-1128.

Book chapter, ‘Nur die Freiheit stillt den Durst’: Schulerstreik, Afstand und Generalstreiks in Sudafrika 1976’, in H. Marcks and M. Matthias (eds.) Die SroBen Streiks: Episoden aus dem Klassenkampf (Unrast, 2008): 154-160.

Book chapter, (and Cynthia Kros) ‘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.

Book chapter, (Martin Legassick and David Hemson) ‘The Revival of the Workers Movement’, Road to Democracy in South Africa, 1970- 1980, Volume 2 (University of South Africa, 2006): 243-316. 

Book review, (and Lucien van der Walt) ‘Labour History Revival: Learning from the Past’, South African Labour Bulletin, 30:4 (2006): 67-68.

Journal article ‘The 1973 Strikes and the Birth of the New Movement in Natal’ Khanya: A Journal for Activists, 8 (2005): 6-9.

Journal article, ‘1976 Soweto Uprising: The Beginning of a New Era’, Third World Resurgence, 171:2 (2004) 68-9.

1999, Conference report, (and Katie Mooney, Noor Nieftagodien) ‘Conference Report. The TRC: Commissioning the Past’, African Studies 58:2 (1999): 209- 218---impact factor 0.345

Last Modified: Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:23:45 SAST