Pre-colonial historian and retired history lecturer Professor John Wright is one of seven highly esteemed figures to be awarded an honorary degree at UCT's June or December graduation ceremonies this year.
UCT recognises the significant contribution Professor John Wright has made through his extraordinary scholarship on the pre-colonial history of Southern Africa and the significance of developing an archive that enables wider scholarship. His contributions have shaped this field and challenged the settler versions of history.
Wright?s scholarship has been dedicated to The James Stuart Archive – a central source for the history of southeast Africa before 1910. The archive is defined as a unique record of transcriptions made between 1890 and 1920, of the events and thinking that prevailed in the 19th century as described by the indigenous inhabitants of the region. Over the last decade or so the archive has become quite popular among lawyers and land claimants, because of the information it contains.
Through careful editorial interventions and translations, The James Stuart Archive has opened the material to researchers from a range of disciplines and enables scholars to move beyond colonial-era orthodoxies. While the first four volumes were published in collaboration with Colin Webb, Wright has been responsible for all translation. He currently holds research posts at UCT and the University of the Witwatersrand.
Photo courtesy of UCT Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative.
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