Call for Papers: The Impact and Legacy of British 1820 Settlers in South Africa: A bicentennial retrospective and prospective.

August 31 – September 2, 2020.

 JIAS (Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Tolip Street, Westdene, Johannesburg

Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), in association with Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Johannesburg; Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa, at the University of Fort Hare; and The Market Theatre, Johannesburg.


The 1820 settlers constitute a socially diverse vanguard of British Imperialism in the Eastern Cape with long-term implications for the Xhosa, Zulu and Afrikaner nations, and the social, political and intellectual history of what was to become the Republic of South Africa. This conference marks the bi-centenary of this British colonial venture and seeks to explore its immediate and subsequent impact on the course of South African history from the perspectives not only of the colonialists, and their justifications of colonialism, but also from those peoples whose lives, livelihoods and cultures were threatened by the presence and expansion of British influence in the Eastern Cape and Natal (Zululand).

The conference will have a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary character. Abstracts may be submitted for consideration from a wide range of disciplinary fields; historical, sociological, anthropological, political and linguistic, to mention but a few.

Proximity between English and Xhosa speakers in the eastern Cape laid the basis for the dominance of the latter in indigenous southern African politics, education, literature, agriculture and Christianity, for the next 100 years. The liberal political tradition in South Africa owes its genesis to these circumstances. From a linguistics perspective, South African English and written Xhosa have their roots in the arrival of the 1820 British settlers. As a second language, English now predominates as the language of government, education, business, and media.

Papers to be presented at the Conference will be approximately 30 minutes in duration, followed by 30 minutes of questions.

Abstracts of proposed papers should be sent to Professor David Boucher, University of Johannesburg and Cardiff University.

Deadline 30th April, 2020. Decisions will be communicated towards the end of May, 2020.

The JIAS conference will coincide with events/performances organised by Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa, Fort Hare and the Market Theatre, Johannesburg.

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