“History is important. If you don’t know history it’s as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything and you have no way of checking up on it”
– Howard Zinn
History, which is taught on both the Durban and Pietermaritzburg campuses, offers skills for both retrieving and interpreting the past in order to better understand the key challenges of our own time. The courses provide students with an empirical and analytical foundation for an in-depth study of major themes in World History and the African continent in particular. Our research and teaching interests among others include colonialism, post-colonialism, modernity, and globalization; the making and re-making of identities such as class, religion, gender, race, and sexuality; and visual representation and newly emerging electronic media, amongst other interests. A range of sources, oral, documentary, and visual, are used to make the courses relevant and meaningful, and to develop skills in documentary study and criticism. Students will be equipped with skills for the general study of the past, and the ability to contextualize and analyse evidence critically, in project research, seminar discussions, debates, oral presentations, and in report and essay writing. With a major in History, you can be a researcher, educator, editor, archivist, analyst, broadcaster, political aide, foreign affairs officer, intelligence agent, or journalist. Indeed, over the last several years, being a historian has consistently been listed by the Wall Street Journal as being in the top ten of the world’s best jobs! The Historical Studies programme at UKZN guarantees that studying your past will never be boring and will give you the tools to “check up” on “anything anybody might tell you”!