Welcome to Ettore Morelli, new Postdoctoral Fellow

21 May 2020 - 13:00
Ettore Morelli (left) presenting at the Department of Historical Studies. Photo courtesy of the UCT Historical Studies Facebook page.


The beginning of 2020 Dr Ettore Morelli joined the APC as Postdoctoral Fellow funded by the National Research Fund. Ettore received his PhD in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 2019. His thesis explored the political history of the southern Highveld between c.1500 and c.1800. Ettore published his first article(link to the article) in the Journal of African History in 2019.

Ettore works on politics, philosophy, social hierarchy, exploitation, warfare, trade, ritual, and religion of the African communities that lived between the Drakensberg mountains and the modern border with Botswana, in the times before European colonialism. His auxiliary interests are the history of slavery, of the plantation complex, and of European colonial ideologies from the fifteenth to mid-nineteenth century.

He brings to the APC his research experience in archives in Lesotho, South Africa, Italy, the Vatican, and the United Kingdom. His arrival expands the geographical extent of the APC’s activities and there is a close fit between his research interests and the APC's concern with source production, archival practices, and the long past before colonialism. Ettore’s work addresses both material remains and the written transcriptions of the African oral past, and he has a keen interest in locating sources in African languages.

His most recent research deals with the creation of historical knowledge about the southern Highveld by an African elder and intellectual and an English veteran and geographer from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Ettore presented the first findings in a seminar at the Department of Historical Studies on the 4th of March, and is drafting a research article on the subject.

Ettore is now collaborating to the Five Hundred Year Archive project at APC, curating digital resources on the Highveld and working on Sesotho and French sources on the Zulu kingdom. He has already made his mark in the APC, notably in helping to organise the first online APC Research Development Workshop and in piloting one of the APC's first online reading groups.