An imperial historian of empire: insights from the Philip Warhurst papers, Killie Campbell Africana Library
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This research note recovers the career and personal papers of Philip Warhurst, a British historian who taught at universities in Rhodesia and South Africa from the 1960s until the 1990s. The note simultaneously reviews the extent of the holdings of the Warhurst Papers at the Killie Campbell Africana Library in Durban while also exploring the insights the collection offers on Warhurst’s views on race relations and his positionality vis-a-vis the British Empire and the Commonwealth. As the collection is open but unprocessed, this note aims to provide a guide that will assist scholars in navigating the collection. The collection will particularly appeal to scholars interested in Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence era (1965-1979). Warhurst was at the frontline of numerous political developments in the colony during this time. Materials document conditions at the University of Rhodesia following political disturbances in 1966 and 1973 and Warhurst’s desire to maintain academic freedom at the university. Warhurst was also a senior official in the Centre Party, a comparatively moderate political group that sought to increase black political participation in Rhodesia, but which expressed opposition to black majority rule. The collection also holds extensive materials of a less overt political nature, primarily documenting Warhurst’s ecumenical activities and support for Scouting in both South Africa and Rhodesia. Finally, the papers hold extensive scholarly notes by Warhurst concerning his review of archival and published material as well as several unpublished lectures and papers.