Howard Phillips is a professor in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he pioneered research in and the teaching of the social history of medicine and disease. He is the author or coauthor of numerous works, including “Black October”: The Impact of the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918 on South Africa.


The Story of South Africa’s Five Most Lethal Human Diseases

By Howard Phillips

This is the first history of epidemics in South Africa, lethal episodes that shaped this society over three centuries. Focusing on five devastating diseases between 1713 and today—smallpox, bubonic plague, “Spanish influenza,” polio, and HIV/AIDS—the book probes their origins, their catastrophic courses, and their consequences.

Athens and Jerusalem
For more than two thousand years, philosophers and theologians have wrestled with the irreconcilable opposition between Greek rationality (Athens) and biblical revelation (Jerusalem).

African Miracle, African Mirage
Transnational Politics and the Paradox of Modernization in Ivory Coast
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ivory Coast was touted as an African miracle, a poster child for modernization and the ways that Western aid and multinational corporations would develop the continent.

South Sudan
A New History for a New Nation
Africa’s newest nation has a long history. Often considered remote and isolated from the rest of Africa, and usually associated with the violence of slavery and civil war, South Sudan has been an arena for a complex mixing of peoples, languages, and beliefs.

The Art of Life in South Africa
From 1952 to 1981, South Africa’s apartheid government ran an art school for the training of African art teachers at Indaleni, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal. The Art of Life in South Africa is the story of the students, teachers, art, and politics that circulated through a small school, housed in a remote former mission station.

Women in the Shadows
Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali
Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader.