Matthew Graham

+44 (0) 1382 388628
Lecturer in History

Profile

Profile

I joined the University of Dundee in 2012 as a lecturer, having completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield (2008-2011).

I am a historian of modern, sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on South Africa.  I am interested in national liberation movements; nationalism; the 'invention' of traditions; and the development of post-colonial governance.

In 2013, I became a Research Associate in the Centre for African Studies, at the University of the Free State in South Africa. This honorary position gives me a presence within South Africa, access to academics and resources there, and will allow me to establish links between our universities.

My teaching focuses on Twentieth Century Africa and the political developments on the continent after World War II. I currently offer an introductory course on Africa and a specific case study of South Africa. I ensure that important primary sources from the archives are incorporated into teaching to enhance the student experience.  

I am a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History: http://globalhistory.org.uk/

Twitter: @SAhistoryMatt

View Matt Graham's PURE profile

Current Teaching

Current Teaching

HU12001: The Globalizing World (Module Convener)

HY21003: The Great War and History

HY32035: Contemporary African Politics

HY31029: Making History: Issues in the study of the past

HY41053: Modern South Africa: Apartheid, African Liberation Struggles, and democracy

HY52006: History Skills and Sources

HY51014: Britain and the Twentieth Century

Matt was the 2015 winner of a CASS Teaching & Good Practice Award in the category Early Career Lecturer, and a 2014 winner of a DUSA Student Led Teaching Award in the category Best Teacher for Assessment and Feedback.

Research

Research

I am a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History: http://globalhistory.org.uk/

My latest research focuses on Southern Africa’s former national liberation movements, and the ways in which the concept of a collective, regional solidarity in the struggle against white minority rule has been created and perpetuated. With a particular focus on the African National Congress (ANC), this research explores the role of ‘liberation solidarity’ and the ways in which the historical record and the realities of exile have been subsumed to serve current political demands. I aim to look beyond the collective amnesia of the regions’ movements, by exploring how the ‘official’ narrative has been constructed and trying to delve into the self-serving ‘myths’ propagated by these parties. 

The next core research project will be on South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy, in which I seek to explore further (based on previous research) the events and activities of the process and some of its political and societal outcomes. In doing so, I wish to provide further insights into this previously neglected period and to also chart the ways in which the transition continues to affect post-apartheid South Africa in a number of spheres. One way of contextualising these themes is through that of a long-transition, and moving away from the narrow, traditionally defined confines of the 1990-1994 period.    

I have carried out previous research on the foreign policy of the ANC and its foreign policy, charting the continuities and discontinuities of its policies from exiled liberation movement to governing political party, 1960-2007. The core pivot of this project revolved around the transition process by exploring the opportunities and constraints this process had not only on the ANC, but also the post-apartheid government. In doing so, I sought to convey how the ANC created and developed its foreign policy ideals, not only against the experiences of exile, its hopes for the future, but also the constraints and influences of the transition process itself, as well as actors such as the apartheid era civil service and western governments.

In 2013, I became a Research Associate in the Centre for African Studies, at the University of the Free State in South Africa. This honorary position gives me a presence within South Africa, access to academics and resources there, and will allow me to establish links between our universities.

Suggested areas for postgraduate supervision

I would welcome enquiries from potential research students interested in late colonial and post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa, in particular the Southern African region. Suggested themes might include:

  • African politics and society
  • White minority rule
  • Regional liberation struggles
  • Post-colonial governance 

Publications

Select Publications

Books

The Crisis of South African Foreign Policy: Diplomacy, Leadership and the Role of the African National Congress (I.B.Tauris, London, 2015)

Articles

‘The ANC and the ‘Myth’ of Liberation Solidarity: ‘Othering’ in Post-apartheid South(ern) Africa’, Africa Insight , 44, 1 (2014), pp. 176-190. http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ai/article/view/110077

‘Social Media as a tool for increased student participation and engagement outside the classroom in Higher Education’, Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 2, 3 (2014), pp. 16-24. http://jpaap.napier.ac.uk/index.php/JPAAP/article/view/113/pdf

‘Foreign Policy in Transition: The ANC’s search for a foreign policy direction during South Africa’s transition, 1990-1994’, The Round Table Journal, (2012) pp. 1-19. (awarded the Hodson Memorial Prize for 2011)

‘Coming in from the cold: The Transitional Executive Council and South Africa’s reintegration into the international community’, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 49, 3 (2011), 359-378.

‘Covert Collusion? American and South African relations during the Angolan Civil War, 1974-1976’, African Historical Review, 43, 1 (2011), 28-47.

‘Finding Foreign Policy: Researching in Five South African Archives’, History in Africa: A Journal of Method, 37 (2010), 379-387.

‘Cold War in Southern Africa’, Africa Spectrum, 45, 1, (2010), 131-139.