McGill Faculty Affiliate: Jon Soske

Jon Soske is assistant Professor of History and Classical Studies. He received a MA in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in History from the University of Toronto. From 2009-11, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His first book project, Boundaries of Diaspora: African Nationalism and the Indian Diaspora in 20th century South Africa, rewrites the history of the antiapartheid struggle by examining the interlacing histories of South Africa and India, especially the circulation and reconfiguration of ideas concerning race, nation, caste, and diaspora. His other research and teaching interests include 20th century African intellectual history, Africa’s place in the modern Indian Ocean, Indian Ocean visual cultures, South Asian diasporas in Africa and the Caribbean, Marxism and postcolonial theory, the politics of biographical writing, and the Indian Dalit leader Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. He has also worked on a number of curatorial, film, and public history projects, including the exhibition South-South: Interruptions and Encounters (JMB Gallery 2009) and the film African-Indian Odyssey (Ochre Media 2010).




Forthcoming (2017) Internal Frontiers: African Nationalism and the Indian Diaspora in 20th Century South Africa (Ohio University Press).


         Edited Books, Journal Special Issues, & Catalogues

2016 Ties That Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa, eds. Shannon Walsh and Jon Soske (Wits University Press).

2015 Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy, expanded print edition, eds. Jon Soske and Sean Jacobs (Haymarket Press).

2012 One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories Today, eds. Arianna Lissoni, Jon Soske, Natasha Erlank, Noor Nieftagodien, and Omar Badsha (Wits University Press).

2012 Lewis Nkosi, special issue of English in Africa, eds. Liz Gunner and Jon Soske, 39.3.

2009 South-South: Interruptions and Encounters, eds. Tejpal S. Ajji and Jon Soske (Justina M. Barnike Gallery).       


Academic Journal Articles

2015 Jon Soske, “The Impossible Concept: Settler Liberalism, Pan-Africanism, and the Language of Non-Racialism,”African Historical Review 47.2: 1-39.

2012 Jon Soske, “Open Secrets, Off the Record: Audience, Intimate Knowledge, and the Crisis of the Post-Apartheid State,” Historical Reflections/Reflexions historiques 38.2: 55-70. Special issue on Writing History for a Variety of Publics edited by Antoinette Burton.

2011 Jon Soske, “The Life and Death of Dr. Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, February 23, 1942 – January 27, 1989,” African Studies 70.3: 337-358.       


Book Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Volumes

2016 Jon Soske and Shannon Walsh, “Thinking about Race and Friendship in South Africa” in Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa (Wits University Press): 1-28.

2013 Jon Soske, “The Other Prince: Ambedkar, Constitutional Democracy, and the Agency of the Law,” in The Political Philosophies of Antonio Gramsci and Ambedkar: Itineraries of Subalterns and Dalitsed. Cosimo Zene (Routledge)59-71.

2012 Jon Soske, Arianna Lissoni, and Natasha Erlank“One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories after Apartheid” in One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories Today (Wits University Press), 27-53.

2012 Jon Soske, “Unraveling the 1947 'Doctor's Pact': Race, Metonymy, and the Evasions of Nationalist History,” in One Hundred Years of the ANC: Debating Liberation Histories Today (Wits University Press), 163-190.

2010 Jon Soske, “Navigating Difference: Gender, Miscegenation, and Indian Domestic Space in 20th Century Durban,” inEyes Across the Water: Navigating the Indian Ocean, eds. Pamila Gupta, Isabel Hofmeyr, and Michael Pearson (UNISA University Press), 197-219.


Essays in Exhibition Catalogues

2010 Jon Soske, “In Defense of Social Documentary Photography,” Bonani Africa 2010 (Cape Town: SAHO)

2009 Tejpal S. Ajji and Jon Soske, Introduction and Catalogue Essay, South-South: Interruptions and Encounters (Toronto: Justina M. Barnike Gallery). Winner of the 2010 Ontario Association of Art Galleries Award for Curatorial Writing

2009 Jon Soske, “Ready-Made Habitats,” Luis Jacob: Towards a Theory of Impressionist and Expressionist Spectatorship, eds. Meike Behn and Yilmaz Dziewior (Köln: Hamburg Kunstverein and Walter König)


Book Reviews

2014 Review: Heather Hughes, First President: The Life of John Dube, Founding President of the ANC (Jacana 2011),South African Historical Journal 66.1.

2013 Review: Scott Couper, Albert Luthuli: Bound by Faith (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press, 2010), H-Net South Africa (January).

2012 Review: Paul Landau, Popular Politics in the History of South Africa, 1400-1948 (Cambridge 2010), Canadian Journal of African Studies 46.2.

2011 Review: David Everatt, The Origins of Non-Racialism: White Opposition to Apartheid in the 1950s (Wits University Press, 2009), Transformation 76.

2009 Review: Zulu Identities: Being Zulu, Past and Present, eds. Benedict Carton, John Laband, and Jabulani Sithole (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press, 2008), Transformation 71.


Editorials and Magazine articles

2016 Jon Soske and Sean Jacobs, “Are Comparisons of South African Apartheid and Israel Useful?” Mondoweiss, June 15.

2016 Jon Soske, “How to Approach Heaven,” Chimurenga Chronic, no. 7, April.

2015 Jon Soske and Sean Jacobs, “Apartheid/Hafrada: South Africa, Israel, and the Politics of Historical Comparison,”Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy, print edition (Haymarket Press)

2014 Jon Soske and Sean Jacobs, “Introduction”, Apartheid Israel: The Politics of an Analogy, an ebook by Africa is a Country, November. 

2013 Jon Soske, “Nation is a Skin Draped over the Bones of the State,” Chimurenga Chronic, no. 2, August. 

2013 Jon Soske, “Letter from New Delhi,” Chimurenga Chronic, no. 2, August.

2013 Jon Soske and Rick Halpern, “Repression of Protestors Threatens Turkish Democracy,” The Toronto Star, 18 June.

2013 Jon Soske, “Aristide Zolberg and African Studies,” Africa is a Country, May 13.

2013 Jon Soske and Liz Gunner, “Introduction: Lewis Nkosi's Way with Works,” English in Africa 39.3 (2012). Republished in the Sunday Independent (ZA), January 25. 

2012 Jon Soske, “Why does South African History Continue to be Written Primarily by White Scholars?' Africa is a Country, 29 November .

2012 Jon Soske, “Marikana and the New Politics of Grief,” History Matters, August 20.

2011 Jon Soske, “In Memorium: A Doctor of Principle and the People,” Chimurenga no.16, October

2010 Omar Badsha and Jon Soske, “The History of a Subcontinent in South Africa,” Sunday Times, April 18.


Interviews and Published conversations

2014 “What Happened to the ANC?” interview by Benjamin Glyn Fogel, Jacobin Radio South Africa, episode 3, June.

2012 “Remembering Lewis Nkosi: Voices in Conversation” (with Liz Gunner), English in Africa 30. 3 (October): 81-89.

2011 Interview by Achaal Prabhala for the Wikipedia People are Knowledge project, 27 June,

2010 “Tejpal S. Ajji, Alissa Trotz, and Jon Soske in Conversation,” Small Axe Website: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism, March.