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Professor Saul Dubow

Professor Saul Dubow

Smuts Professor of Commonwealth History

Magdalene College, Cambridge CB3OAG


I grew up in South Africa and studied at the universities of Cape Town and Oxford. I have taught at the universities of Sussex and Queen Mary, London. 

My teaching and research concentrates on the history of modern South Africa from the early-nineteenth century to the present. I have published widely on the development of racial segregation and apartheid in all its aspects: political, ideological, intellectual and institutional. I have particular interests in the history of science, empire, Africa, and global intellectual history.

Subject groups/Research projects

World History:

Departments and Institutes

Magdalene College:

Research Interests

  • Racial segregation and apartheid
  • The history of race, eugenics, nationalism and ethnicity
  • Empire and Commonwealth
  • Colonial science and knowledge
  • Prehistory, paleontology, astronomy
  • Human rights and international institutions
  • African history
  • Global intellectual history

Research Supervision

I have extensive experience as a supervisor and am happy to be approached by prospective M.Phil and doctoral students


Africa, Empire and Commonwealth, South Africa


  • International History
  • Imperial History

Key Publications

 Racial Segregation and the Origins of Apartheid in Twentieth Century South Africa, 1919-36 (London, 1989)

 Scientific Racism in Modern South Africa (Cambridge, 1995)

 The African National Congress (Stroud,2000)

 A Commonwealth of Knowledge: Science, Sensibility and White South Africa 1820-2000 (Oxford, 2006)

South Africa’s Struggle for Human Rights (Johannesburg and Ohio, 2012)

Apartheid: 1948-1994 (Oxford, 2014)


Other Publications

Journal and book chapters since 2010 include:

2010 `Keith Hancock, Race, and Empire’, in C.Hall and K.McClelland (eds), Race, Nation and Empire. Making Histories 1750 to the Present’ , (Manchester, 2010)

2010 `South Africa: Paradoxes in the Place of Race’, in Alison Bashford and Philippa Levine (eds), The Oxford Handbook of The History of Eugenics (Oxford),274-288

2011` South Africa and South Africans: Nationality, Belonging, Citizenship’ opening chapter in The Cambridge History of South Africa, Volume 2 (Cambridge), 17-65

2011 `Macmillan, Verwoerd, and the 1960 “Wind of Change” Speech’, Historical Journal 54, 4 (2011), 1087-1114

2014 `Uncovering the Historic Strands of Egalitarian Liberalism in South Africa’, Theoria 61, 3 (2014) pp.7-24

2015 `Were there Political Alternatives in the Wake of the Sharpeville-Langa Violence in South Africa, 1960? Journal of African History 56, 1 (2015), pp.119-142

2015 `Racial Irredentism, Ethnogenesis, and White Supremacy in High-Apartheid South Africa’, Kronos, 41, 1(2015), pp.236-264

2017 `The Commonwealth and South Africa: From Smuts to Mandela’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History,