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About SOAS

Prof. Shula Marks

Professor Shula Marks was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from SOAS in 2005. She is Emeritus Professor of History at SOAS, an Honorary Research Fellow of the School for Advanced Study in the University of London, and an Honorary Emeritus Professor in the University of Cape Town.

A specialist on the history of South Africa, she graduated from the University of Cape Town and then gained her doctorate at SOAS. Whilst completing her PhD she was appointed to a joint lectureship at SOAS and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, where she founded an interdisciplinary postgraduate seminar on the Societies of Southern Africa. This helped transform the understanding of South African history from that of the white man in Africa to the history of all its peoples. In 1982 she was appointed Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and served there for ten years before returning to SOAS. Professor Marks is chairman of the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (now known as the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics) and a member of the Canon Collins Trust.

She has published widely on the history of southern Africa and has served as the editor of the Journal of African History and chair of the Journal of Southern African Studies which she helped found. Her interests have ranged from the archaeology and the prehistory of the sub-continent, to health and apartheid and the history of race, class and gender in twentieth century South Africa. Perhaps her best known work is Not Either an Experimental Doll: the separate worlds of three South African women. She has also lectured widely on southern African history and given numerous named and keynote lectures including the prestigious Creighton Lecture for the University of London, the Raleigh Lecture for the British Academy and the Douglas Southall Freeman lectures at the University of Virginia.

Professor Marks was the second woman to be elected to the Modern History section of The British Academy in recent years. In recognition of her work, she was awarded an OBE, the Distinguished Africanist Award and Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Cape Town and Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal).