African History, University of Basel, Switzerland

South Africa, Switzerland

Janvier à Juin 2015


Patrick Harries (1950-2016) held the nationality of South Africa together with that of Switzerland. He graduated in African Studies at the University of Cape Town and completed his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Since 2001 he had been professor of African History at the University of Basel. He had held fellowships and teaching positions at Re:work in Berlin, Cambridge University, University of Wisconsin (Madison, USA) and at the University of Lausanne. He taught African History in various capacities at the University of Cape Town from 1975, leaving that university as associate professor in 2000. He worked actively in the field of African Studies throughout his academic career.

Patrick Harries researched the history of (forced) emigration from Mozambique and the history of the 'Mozbieker' community of immigrants at the Cape of Good Hope, c.1770-1880. His secondary field of research related to the history of knowledge-production in Africa, particularly in the natural sciences.

Search project

"Memory and Identity in the African Diaspora: the Mozbieker Community at the Cape, South Africa"

During his fellowship at the Institute Patrick Harries investigated the rise of the slave trade from Mozambique to St Domingue in the last quarter of the 18th century and its diversion to South America in the following decades. He was particularly concerned to trace the role of the Cape in this trade as both a refreshment station and a destination for African slaves. He was as much concerned with the entrepreneurial side of this multi-national trade as with the horrors of the Middle Passage to the Cape.

His research also focused on the activities of the Royal Navy's anti-slavery squadron and the 'freeing' of slaves at the Cape where they served lengthy apprenticeships. A major part of the project was devoted to the social history of this 'Mozambiquer' or 'Mozbieker' community at the Cape. The period covered is c.1770 - 1880.


HARRIES Patrick. Butterflies and Barbarians: Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in Southeast Africa. Athens: Ohio University Press; Oxford: James Currey, 2007, 303p.

HARRIES Patrick. Work, Culture and Identity: Migrant Labour in Mozambique and South Africa, c.1860-1910. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1994, 305p. (Social History of Africa series).

HARRIES Patrick. et MAXWELL D. (sous la direction de). The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2012, 341p.

HARRIES Patrick. Negotiating Abolition: Cape Town and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade .Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, Vol. 34, Issue 4, 2013, p.579-597.

HARRIES Patrick. The Hobgoblins of the Middle Passage: the Cape of Good Hope and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In SCHMIEDER U., FÜLLBERG-STOLBERG K., ZEUSKEM. The End of Slavery in Africa and the Americas: a comparative approach. Münster: LIT Verlag, 2011.