Laura Evans

Dr Laura Evans BA (Hons), MA, PhD, PgLTCHE

Senior Lecturer In History


My research focuses on the modern and contemporary history of South Africa, with a focus on the history of the bantustans.

Before joining SHU, I held fellowships at the University of the Western Cape and at the University of Cape Town. At SHU I teach modern South African history alongside a range of topics in modern African, colonial and postcolonial history.


My forthcoming book, entitled Survival in the Dumping Grounds: A Social History of Apartheid Relocation (Brill, forthcoming 2019) examines the social history of forced relocation into the Ciskei bantustan at the height of the apartheid era (1960s-70s).

Based on oral history and archival research, this book examines the makings and the meanings of mass relocation under apartheid, the variety of experiences that this process produced and the ways that individuals negotiated this process.

While state relocation was coercive, poorly planned and had terrible consequences for many people who were forced to move to rural 'dumping grounds' (as they were often called), those who came to live in the new relocation townships nevertheless remade their lives amid adversity. My book explores the histories of two of the new settlements that resulted from relocation in the Ciskei bantustan, Sada and Ilinge. It examines the new social worlds that were created and the political impacts of relocation

My current project examines the history of mass action and political violence during South Africa's transition to democracy. This research centres on the history of the Bisho massacre of 1992, in which 29 people were killed by the Ciskei security forces.

This episode offers a novel historical vantage point for exploring the history of the transition 'from below', by looking at the neglected histories of collective action, political violence and state repression during the 1990s, and the enduring conflict surrounding the future of the bantustan regimes in post-apartheid South Africa.


Department of Humanities

College of Social Sciences and Arts


BA (Hons) History, MA by Research
Course Leader for BA (Hons) History

Modules (History BA):
South Africa in the Twentieth Century (L6)

Race: Difference and Power in the Modern World (L5)

Empires and Encounters (L4)

 Dissertation (L6)


Humanities Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University 

Research Associate, International Studies Group, University of the Free State (South Africa) 


Evans, L. (2013). Gender, generation and the experiences of farm dwellers resettled in the Ciskei Bantustan, South Africa, ca 1960–1976. Journal Of Agrarian Change, 13 (2), 213-233.

Evans, L. (2012). South Africa's Bantustans and the dynamics of ‘decolonisation’: reflections on writing histories of the homelands. South African Historical Journal, 64 (1), 117-137.

Book chapters

Evans, L. (2017). South Africa’s Bantustans and the Dynamics of Decolonization: Reflections on Writing Histories of the Homelands. In Lissoni, A., & Ally, S. (Eds.) New Histories of South Africa’s Apartheid-Era Bantustans. Routledge


Evans, L. (2019). Survival in the 'dumping grounds': a social history of apartheid relocation. Brill.

Evans, L. (2019). Survival in the 'dumping grounds'.

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