Case study: Stuart Mole, 1st Year PhD Student

Supervisor: Professor Andrew Thompson

My research focuses on the relationship between the Commonwealth, South Africa and apartheid. It spans the period from 1948, when the building blocks of the apartheid state were first put in place, to apartheid's eventual dissolution with the 'freedom' elections of 1994. It examines the interaction of the Commonwealth with apartheid over the same period and explores how each influenced the other within the broader context of global change.

What attracted me to the University of Exeter was the opportunity to work with Professor Andrew Thompson and his colleagues in the Department of History. More specifically, Professor Thompson's research interests in the history of colonial South Africa and the post-war decolonisation process are of particular relevance to my work.

No study of decolonisation and the legacy of the British Empire would be complete without some assessment of the global role of the modern Commonwealth. Equally, any appreciation of the Commonwealth would also need to include an analysis of its enduring shared identities and its claim to hold fundamental values in common. Here my research explores how the Commonwealth responded to the challenge posed by apartheid to its stated belief in racial and political equality. These aspects of my research are relevant to a number of the Centre for Imperial and Global History's research themes, including 'Regions in a global context', 'Humanitarianism, development, and discourses of rights', and 'Europe, decolonisation, and legacies of empire'. I am looking forward to drawing on the expertise of colleagues who are interested in these research themes, as well as using the Centre's links with research institutions in the UK and abroad to develop new networks.