CV Prof. Dr. Robert John Ross


Personal Details

Date of Birth 26 July 1949
Place of Birth Sidcup, Kent, England
Nationality British


St. John's College, Cambridge, England

Period 1974
Degree Ph.D.

St. John's College, Cambridge, England

Period 1974
Degree Master of Arts

St. John's College, Cambridge, England

Period 1970
Degree Bachelor of Arts First Class Honours
Subject History

Academic positions

2004 Professor in the History of Africa, in particular that of South Africa, Faculty of Arts, University of Leiden, on behalf of the Van den Berch van Heemstede Foundation
1975-present Various appointments within the University of Leiden; since 1986 Coordinator African Studies, Faculty of Arts; since 1990 responsible for setting up and coordinating the Fellow "bovenbouwstudie"  (undergraduate programme) Afrikanistiek at Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study`(NIAS), Wassenaar, the Netherlands
1966-1967 Moeding College, Lobatsi, Botswana

Academic advise positions

1989-1994 Member (1993-1994 chairman) of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Werkgemeenschap Afrika for the foundation WOTRO (Scientific research in the tropics).

2002-present; 1994-1997

Member, Scientific Advisory Committee of the School for Asian, African and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), Leiden, the Netherlands
1998-present Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Africa-Studiecentrum
1998-present Member "opleidingsbestuur" Talen en culturen van Afrika, Faculty of Arts, Leiden University
1999-2003 Director South African - Netherlands Programme for Alternatives in Development (SANPAD) project "The Khoisan Revival Movement", in collaboration with Prof. Henry Bredekamp, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
1999-2002 Collaborator South African - Netherlands Programme for Alternatives in Development (SANPAD) project "Visualising Hidden Pasts: Heritage, Culture and Social Transformation in East London, Eastern Cape", directed by Dr. Leslie Bank, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, East London Campus, United Kingdom

Selected Publications

Books (excluding edited volumes)

A Concise History of South Africa, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. xv + 219. 1999. (Swedish translation, Sydafrikas historia, Historiska Media, Lund, 2001; Dutch translation: Zuid-Afrika: een geschiedenis, publication Arbeiders Pers, Amsterdam and Antwerp, 2001).

Status and respectability at the Cape of Good Hope: A Tragedy of Manners, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp.xii + 203. 1999. Electronic edition available at

Beyond the Pale: Essays on the History of Colonial South Africa. Hanover and London, Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England, pp. xii + 270. 1993.

Cape of Torments: Slavery and Resistance in South Africa. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1983.

Adam Kok's Griquas: a study in the development of stratification in South Africa. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 1976.

Articles and contributions

Some 80 articles including:

"Ethnic Competition and Claims to Land in South Africa: The Kat River valley, Eastern Cape". In Stanley Engerman and Jacob Metzer (eds.), Land Rights, Ethno-Nationality and Sovereignty in History, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 294–316. 2004.

"Ambiguities of resistance and collaboration on the Eastern Cape Frontier: The Kat River Settlement, 1829-1856". In Jon Abbink, Mirjam de Bruijn & Klaas van Walraven(eds.), Rethinking Resistance: Revolt and Violence in African History, Leiden & Boston, Brill, pp. 117–141. 2003.

"Congregations, Missionaries and the Grahamstown Schism of 1842-3". In John de Gruchy, (ed.) The London Missionary Society in Southern Africa: historical essays in celebration of the bicentenary of the LMS in Southern Africa, 1799-1999. Cape Town, David Philip, 120-131, 210-212. 1999.

"Missions, respectability and civil rights: the Cape Colony, 1828-1854", Journal of Southern African Studies, 25, 3, 333-345. 1999.

"The Kat River, Rebellion and Khoikhoi nationalism: the fate of an ethnic identification". Kronos: a Journal of Cape History, 24, 91-105, 1997. (Also published in The proceedings of the Khoisan Identites and Cultural Heritage Conference, Institute of Historical Research, University of the Western Cape, in Collaboration with Infosource, Cape Town.)

"Combatting Spiritual and Social Bondage: early missions in the Cape Colony". With Elizabeth Elbourne, in Richard Elphick & Rodney Davenport (eds.), Christianity in South Africa: a political, social and cultural history. David Philip (Cape Town), James Currey (London) and University of California Press, (Berkeley & Los Angeles), 31-50 & 403-409. 1997.

"The social and political theology of Western Cape missions". In Henry Bredekamp and Robert Ross (eds.), Missions and Christianity in South African History, Witwatersrand UP (Johannesburg), 97-112. 1995.

"'Rather mental than physical’: Emancipations and the Economy of the Cape Colony". In Nigel Worden and Clifton C. Crais (eds.), Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its legacy in the Nineteenth century Cape Colony. Johannesburg, Witwatersrand University Press, 145-167. 1994.

"The Top Hat in South African history: the changing significance of an article of material culture". Social Dynamics, 16, 2, 90-100. 1990.

"The Cape of Good Hope and the World Economy, 1652 - 1835". In R. Elphick and H. Giliomee (eds.) The Shaping of South African Society, 1652 - 1835, 2nd edition, London and Cape Town, Maskew Miller Longmans, 243-282. 1989. (Also published in Afrikaans translation as "Die Kaap die Goeie Hoop en die w�reldekonomie, 1652 - 1835". In 'n Samelewing in Wording: Suid-Afrika 1652 – 1840. Pinelands, Maskew Miller Longman, 2nd edition, 1990.)

Site by Hic et Nunc