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2024 SAHS Biennial Conference –CLICK HERE–

June 26 - June 28

26 – 28 JUNE 2024

Abstract and Panel Submissions have closed.

Please direct any queries to Dr. Tshepo Moloi at: moloit@uj.ac.za

Online Conference Registrations have closed.

You may still register at the conference venue.

Conference Venue Map and List of Accomodation here:

Conference Information

Hosted by the Department of History at the University of Johannesburg
History at the Precipice: Continuity, Change and Crises in Southern Africa
The Southern African Historical Society (SAHS) invites proposals for its 29th Biennial conference, on 26-28 June, 2024, to be held at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, around the broad theme of ‘History at the Precipice: Continuity, Change and Crises in Southern Africa’. This is an in-person conference. There are strong grounds for arguing that Southern Africa and the world find themselves in what historian, Professor Adam Tooze, has called a ‘polycrisis’: a wide-ranging set of interlocking economic, political, social and environmental crises, which are currently manifesting themselves in alarming fashion, and which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical shocks such as the war in Ukraine.

History and the skills, and methods of historians provide invaluable tools for understanding the past in general, as it relates to the present. Historians seek to identify patterns: mapping continuity, change and crises onto the past. The evaluation of crises and debates about their existence or otherwise, their origins and extent, are at the very heart of the practice of history, and claims about crises, their causes, severity and resolution are central to the realm of politics, more broadly.

Historical research at its best can provide a sense of perspective on the import, duration and seriousness of perceived crises. Southern Africa is self-evidently being impacted by the global ‘polycrisis’ which Tooze identifies, but the challenge is to delineate and debate the specific form(s) of the crises finding expression in the region – in the continent – at  present, their origins, their contingent nature and their severity. It might be argued that the history of southern Africa as a whole has been marked, over the centuries, by successive crises of various sorts, from the precolonial era, through to the present. Processes of state formation, migration, colonialism, resistance, economic, social and environmental change have produced numerous perceived and real crises that have had major political ramifications, principally across the region but also into Southern Africa and its soil-rooted and oceanic hinterlands, into Africa and out into the world beyond. Contemporary concerns across southern Africa include the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, deepening inequality, the land question, the effects of climate change and energy transitions, contestations over migration, ethnicity and xenophobia, crises of infrastructure and government more broadly.

All submissions must be done via the SAHS website, www.sahs.org.za. The closing date for
submissions is the end of February 2024. You may also apply for membership and pay for
the conference via the website. In a bid to assist our members, conference fees have not
changed since 2022.

Conference registration commences on 1 March 2024.
Early-bird registration ends on 12 April 2024
Early-bird registration fee for SAHS members only: R2500
Regular fee after 12 April 2024: R2900
Postdoctoral fellows: R2400
Postgraduate students: R1900 – There will also be a limited number of post-graduate
bursaries to assist with registration fees.

Further details regarding student subsidies, conference logistics, and the SAHS Vice-
Presidential Graduate Student prize will be published on the SAHS conference website in
due course. For more information, please email Tshepo Moloi: moloit@uj.ac.za or Annie
Devenish at annie.devenish@wits.ac.za.

If you need an invoice for conference fees, please email the treasurer, Prof. Natasha Erlank at nerlank@uj.ac.za


June 26
June 28


University of Johannesburg
Gauteng South Africa


Department of History, University of Johannesburg