Africanising Apartheid

White South Africa and the Quest for Post-Colonial Legitimacy

French Institute Seminars in Humanities (FISH)
3 October 2014

14:00 – IFAS Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein


Jamie Miller
Cornell University

Between 1968 and 1975, apartheid South Africa defied all expectations by reaching out energetically to independent black Africa. This article in progress argues that this “outward policy” was driven not, as the historiography maintains, by economic considerations or as a short-cut to improving Pretoria’s deteriorating relations with its traditional Western allies. Instead, it was the central forum for a unique state-building agenda aimed at recasting the white polity as an African and post-colonial entity. The outward policy thus provides a lens through which to access an intense contest over post-colonial legitimacy and identity, as well as a vehicle to integrate the apartheid state into broader African history.


Jamie Miller is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mario Einaudi Center at Cornell University. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge, was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Quinnipiac University, and has been a Fox International Fellow at Yale University. He is currently working on the final stages of a book manuscript, entitled The Alchemist and the Hammer: The Struggle to Preserve Apartheid, 1974-1978. He won the Saki Ruth Dockrill Memorial Prize for best paper at the University of California Santa Barbara – London School of Economics – George Washington University International Graduate Conference on the Cold War (2011), the African Studies Association Best Graduate Paper Prize (2013), and has articles in Cold War History (2012) and the Journal of Cold War Studies (2013). Dr. Miller specialises in the politics, state-building, and ideology of the apartheid era, with broader research interests in decolonization, anti-colonial nationalism, state violence, the Cold War in Southern Africa, the Cold War in the developing world, and African history.