The Department of

History and Political Studies

Nelson Mandela University would like to welcome prospective undergraduate and post-graduate students to the Department of History and Political Studies. Our department offers a host of undergraduate and post-graduate courses with tailored focus in the fields of history, political studies and conflict resolution. 

Political studies connects students to topics they might not have encountered during schooling, such as ideology, democratic consolidation, international relations, political economy, political theory and philosophy . To understand the impact of history and politics on the world, is to know that it resonates through almost every sphere of our lives on a daily basis.

Studying in the governmental sciences familiarises one with the power structures that operate globally. It provides evidence for the modes of interaction between individuals, organizations, institutions and states. Political thinkers throughout the ages have guided us to understand concepts of how the world works (empirical) or should work (normative). To study political science allows you to encounter the justifications for certain liberties people are afforded. It teaches us to understand constitutional processes and structures such as the Bill of Rights. We are shown how states interact with each other on a global scale and how market capitalism influences governments in national and transnational capacities.

With an understanding of all these themes in mind, you will be enabled with the tools to critique and evaluate the norms and standards of society. A scholar of political science understands the methods and practices of the world enough to develop new strategies and assist changing or reforming political spaces where necessary. They then hold the key to the analyse, write, influence management or develop policy in spheres such as education, healthcare, security, infrastructure, labour and commerce.

Conflict transformation and Security Studies are a rapidly growing and evolving medium within the social sciences. At Nelson Mandela University, conflict is studied and researched in an inclusive way as it strives to become an interdisciplinary field. There is the growing recognition that conflict transformation studies should not only focus on the issues of inter-state or intra-state war and disputation, but that conflict may occur at any level of society including within local communities and organisational spheres. Hence, there is a now well entrenched scholarship that a broader and all-encompassing approach to the study of conflict will produce a greater efficacy of research and constructive models to resolve conflicts at both socio-political or socio-economic levels.

Department Research Agenda: Democracy, Conflict, Socio-economic Inequality and Distributive Justice.

  • South African and African History and Historiography
  • Evolving trends in African democracy, ideology, political philosophy and comparative politics
  • Socio-economic and political issues; incorporating the study of social policy, social justice, rights movements and inclusive citizenship
  • Conflict resolution and analysing deep-rooted conflict in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world
  • Community, organisational and societal conflict management and transformation