The pre-industrial cape in the twenty-first century

Laura J. Mitchell, Gerald Groenewald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This special issue of the South African Historical Journal reflects on the state of the field of pre-industrial history at the Cape of Good Hope. It is an opportunity to look back on the previous decade of research, identify accomplishments, and chart future directions. We note a significant historiographical shift from research that focused broadly on colonised peoples, particularly slaves and Khoesan, to emerging literatures that give equally careful attention to colonisers. This shift moves the field toward a more complete picture of colonial society; it accompanies a present period of political uncertainty. The growing body of scholarship on early colonial history is drawing more practitioners. The resulting exploration of new topics and the revision of existing interpretations are producing robust, methodologically diverse work, especially noteworthy for its interdisciplinarity. While this work increasingly situates the Cape in broader regional and global histories, even more intentional efforts are required in order to avoid parochialism. The transition from Dutch to British rule at the Cape also requires further scrutiny. These efforts have the ability to challenge existing periodisations and lead to a re-examination of the continuities before and after the mineral revolutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
JournalSouth African Historical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Cape of Good Hope
  • Khoesan
  • gender
  • historiography
  • inter-disciplinary research
  • literary studies
  • slavery
  • transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'The pre-industrial cape in the twenty-first century'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this