Steve Davis

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  • Associate Professor
  • African American and Africana Studies
  • History
  • Social Theory
  • Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies
1749 Patterson Office Tower
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

B.A., Hamilton College (2000)
M.A., PhD., University of Florida (2010)


Stephen R Davis is currently working on a project on the 1981 Matola Raid, a cross-border raid conducted by the South African Defense Force on ANC residences located outside Maputo, Mozambique.  This manuscript will be an explanation of the circumstances that led to the raid, an operational history of the raid itself, and an intervention into the literature on insurgency and counter-insurgency during the 'long 1980s' in South Africa and the significance of southern Africa in determining the course of the end of the Cold War.  This project will draw on newly conducted interviews with survivors and participants as well as previously inaccessible archival material.

In February 2018, Indiana University Press published The ANC's War against Apartheid: Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Liberation of South AfricaThis history of everyday life of rank-and-file soldiers in Umkhonto we Sizwe . This work borrows from microhistory and recent work on public history in South Africa and is part of a broader critique of official histories of the armed struggle written after the transition to democracy.   

In 2007-2008, he conducted research in South Africa on a grant provided by the Fulbright Institute for International Education (IIE). During this trip he collected several dozen oral interviews with ex-combatants, former activists, and current ANC members.

In addition to research, he spent three years learning Xhosa at the University of Florida and intensive language training in Zulu at the University of KwaZulu-Natal under the auspices of the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad administered by Yale University.

Selected Publications: 
The ANC and its War against Apartheid, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018
“Training and Deployment at Novo Catengue and Jack Simons’ Diaries,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 40 (2014) 1325-1342.
“Struggle History and Self-Help; The Parallel Lives of Nelson Mandela in Conventional and Figurative Biography,” African Studies, 73 (2014) 169-191.
“The African National Congress, its Radio, its Allies and Exile,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 35 (2009) 349-373.