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Blanke Tsotsis, Social Engineering and Scientific Management: the Apartheid Public Service

Blanke Tsotsis, Social Engineering and Scientific Management: the Apartheid Public Service
Francis Scott Key, 2120
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Please join the Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies for a lunch talk with Dr. Roos.

Neil Roos is a social historian and undertook his initial research training within the radical social history movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he worked on white communists, and their role in the Springbok Legion in the 1940s and 1950s), the Congress of Democrats and the move to violence in the early 1960s.

He did his doctoral degree at the now-defunct University of Bophuthatswana, one of the so-called ‘homeland universities’.  During this time he worked closely with Jean and John Comaroff (who took on the task of supervising his thesis), and began to spend time with the Africanist anthropologists at the University of Chicago. Revealing his growing interest in anthropology, his doctoral thesis engaged with the complexities of everyday life among white male South African soldiers of the Second World War.  During this time Neil began to engage with the emerging theoretical and comparative literature on whiteness – one of the first South African historians to do so. 

During a fellowship at the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory (University of Chicago), Neil began working with the postcolonial anthropologists, historians and literary theorists of South Asia know as the ‘Subaltern Studies’ group.  The influence of working with this group have helped to shape the theoretical and methodological approaches that Neil is using in his current project, a series of essays on white life under apartheid.

He is the author of Ordinary Springboks:  whit servicemen and social justice in South Africa, 1939-1961 92005), and his most recent essays have appeared in the Journal of Southern African Studies, Journal of Social History and Social History. 

In 2010 he was appointed as founding Director of the University of the Free State’s new Postgraduate School.