Prof. dr. R.J. (Robert) Ross

  • Professor

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 1646
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Institute for History, Afrika studies

Fields of interest

- Colonial South Africa, especially the Cape Colony—slavery, religion, economy, government and the frontier
- Black consumption patterns in Southern Africa since the mineral revolution
- The global homogenisation of world material culture, especially clothing.


Summary of research project:

1. Cambridge history of South Africa

2. The Kat River valley, 1829-1860

3. Clothing: a global history

Curriculum vitae

Born in London, studied in Cambridge, Ph.D (1974) on the history of the Griquas in central South Africa. Since 1976 in Leiden, as coordinator and (later) professor in African history. My teaching has been in the BA degree course Languages and Cultures of Africa, and the MAs (including the Research MA) on African Studies. In addition to my specialised research, I have written general works on South African history, notably being involved as senior editor in the Cambridge History of South Africa (Cambridge,, Cambridge UP, 2010 and 2012)

Key publications

  • (2010) Ross, R.J. & Hamilton, C.A. & Mbenga, B.K. (Eds.)
    Cambridge History of South Africa, Volume I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • (2008) Ross, R.J.  Clothing: a Global History; or the ImperialistsNew Clothes. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • (2003) “Ambiguities of resistance and collaboration on the Eastern Cape Frontier: The Kat River Settlement, 1829-1856”, Rethinking Resistance: Revolt and Violence in African History, Jon Abbink, Mirjam de Bruijn & Klaas van Walraven (eds.), Leiden & Boston, Brill, pp. 117 – 141.
  • (1999) A Concise History of South Africa, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. xv + 219.
  • (1999) Status and respectability at the Cape of Good Hope: A Tragedy of Manners, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp.xii + 203.
  • (1993) Beyond the Pale: Essays on the History of Colonial South Africa, Hanover and London, Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England, pp. xii + 270.
  • (1983) Cape of Torments: Slavery and Resistance in South Africa, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

Last Modified: 16-02-2016