Obituary: Prof. Emer. Patrick Allan Lifford Harries, PhD (1950–2016)

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Patrick Harries. On 2 June 2016 we lost a brilliant and internationally renowned scholar as well as a dear friend, colleague and teacher.

From 2001 to 2015, Patrick Harries was Professor for African History at the University of Basel and a member of the steering group of the Centre for African Studies Basel (CASB). Patrick was a leading scholar in the fi elds of the history of labour in Africa, the history of Christian missions and the history of knowledge production. During his time in Basel, Patrick established African History as a distinguishing fi eld at the University and signifi cantly contributed towards the research and teaching activities at the CASB. He led several research projects on the history of knowledge, science and medicine, and Christian missions. More than 30 MA and more than 15 PhD theses were successfully completed at the University of Basel under his supervision. As a member of the SSAS, he represented the Swiss African Studies in a broad and distinguished network of international scholars.

Patrick Harries studied and, from 1975, taught African History at the University of Cape Town (UCT). In 1983 he completed his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Patrick returned to the UCT as a senior lecturer for African History and was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town in 1993. He was a visiting professor at the University of Lausanne (1991), the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (1992) and the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (1996) in Paris, the Humboldt University in Berlin (1996), the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (2000) and the University of Wisconsin in Madison (2001). In 2001 Patrick joined the University of Basel and held the newly created professorship for African history. During his time in Basel, he was awarded fellowships at the University of Stellenbosch (2002), at Re:Work (International Research Centre Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History) at the Humboldt University in Berlin (2010), the University of Cambridge (Smuts Visiting Research Fellowship; 2011), and the Institut d’Études Avancées in Nantes (2015).

In the earlier years of Patrick’s career, his research focused on the history of labour. In 1994, he published his widely acknowledged monograph Work, Culture and Identity: Migrant Labour in Mozambique and South Africa, c.1860–1910. Later, his interest turned to the history of knowledge production in the context of Christian missionary endeavours. During his time in Basel he authored for instance the monograph Butterflies and Barbarians: Swiss Missionaries and Systems of Knowledge in Southeast Africa (2007) and the volume The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa (2012), which he edited with David Maxwell. In more recent years, he focused his research on the transatlantic slave trade, the role of the Cape of Good Hope and, in particular, the fate of the African diaspora at the Cape.

Patrick died on the evening of 2 June 2016 in the mother city. We will miss Patrick dearly and are thankful for his dedicated years of friendship, inspiration, support and cooperation.


Harries, Patrick. 2013. ‘Negotiating Abolition: Cape Town and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade ’. Slavery & Abolition 34 (4). Taylor & Francis, 579-97. doi:10.1080/0144039X.2012.759672.   edoc
Harries, Patrick, and Marcel Dreier. 2012. ‘Medizin Und Magie in Afrika.’. In Nach Feierabend. Zürcher Jahrbuch für Wissensgeschichte, edited by David Gugerli and Kijan Espahangizi, 8:85-104. Zürich: Diaphanes.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2012. ‘Secular Knowledge and Salvage Anthropology: Henri-Alexandre Junod and the Thonga Tribe’. In Du Missionaire à l’anthropologue: Enquête Sur Une Longue Tradition En Compagnie De Mike Singleton, edited by Frédéric Laugrand and Olivier Servais, 43-76. Hommes Et sociétés. Paris: Karthala.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2012. ‘Introduction: The Spiritual in the Secular’. In The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa, edited by Patrick Harries and David Maxwell, 1-29. Studies in the History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2012. ‘Natural Science and Naturvölker: Missionary Adventures in Entomology and Botany’. In The Spiritual in the Secular: Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa, edited by Patrick Harries and David Maxwell, 30-71. Studies in the History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans.   edoc
Harries, Patrick, and David Maxwell, eds. 2012. The Spiritual in the Secular. Missionaries and Knowledge about Africa. Studies in the History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2012. ‘Wissenssysteme, aussereuropäische 7. Afrika’. In Enzyklopädie Der Neuzeit, edited by Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen, 15:5. Stuttgart/Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler.   
Harries, Patrick. 2011. ‘The Hobgoblins of the Middle Passage : The Cape of Good Hope and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade’. In The End of Slavery in Africa and the Americas : A Comparative Approach, 27 - 50. Sklaverei Und Postemanzipation / Slavery and Postemancipation / Esclavitud Y postemancipación. Berlin: Lit.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2011. ‘Preface’. In Embroiled : Swiss Churches, South Africa and Apartheid. Vol. xii - xvii. Schweizerische Afrikastudien. Zürich: Lit.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2011. ‘Arnold Van Gennep’. In Fifty Key Anthropologists, 239-44. Routledge Key Guides. London: Routledge.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2010. ‘The Long Revolution of the PAC. An Introduction’. In In the Twilight of the Revolution: The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (South Africa), edited by Kwandiwe Merriman Kondlo, I-IX. Basler Afrika Bibliographien. Basel: Schwabe.   edoc
Harries, Patrick, Bernard Mbenga, and Norman Etherington. 2010. ‘From Colonial Hegemonies to Imperial Conquest, 1840-1880’. In The Cambridge History of South Africa, 1: From Early Times to 1885:319-91. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521517942.008.   edoc | Open Access
Harries, Patrick. 2010. ‘From Public History to Private Enterprize : The Politics of Memory in the New South Africa’. In Historical Memory in Africa : Dealing With the Past, Reaching for the Future in an Intercultural Context, 121-41. Making Sense of History. New York: Berghahn Books.   edoc
Harries, Patrick, and David Maxwell. 2010. ‘Europäische Missionare Und Afrikanische Christen’. In Europa Und Afrika, edited by Georg Kreis, 93-112. Basel: Schwabe.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2009. ‘Preface’. In In the Twilight of the Revolution : The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (South Africa) 1959-1994, 1-6. Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB).   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2007. Butterflies & Barbarians : Swiss Missionaries & Systems of Knowledge in South-East Africa. Oxford: James Currey.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2007. ‘From the Alps to Africa : Swiss Missionaries and the Rise of Anthropology’. In Ordering Africa, 201-24. Studies in Imperialism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2006. ‘The Battle of Algiers: Between Fiction, Memory and History’. In Black and White in Colour, 203-22. Oxford.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2005. ‘Consolidating Democracy and Building the Nation: Chiefs in South Africa’. [S.l.]: [s.n.].   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2005. ‘D’apprendre à Lire, à Lire Pour Apprendre : Le thème De l’alphabétisation En Afrique Australe’. In Des frontières En Afrique Du XIIe Au XXe siècle, 117-44. Paris.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2005. ‘Making Mozbiekers : History, Memory and the African Diaspora at the Cape’. In Slave Routes and Oral Tradition in Southeastern Africa, 91-123. Maputo.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2005. ‘Primitivisme Au musée : La récolte Des Missionnaires’. In Cent Ans d’ethnographie Sur La Colline De Saint-Nicolas 1904-2004, 97-109. Neuchâtel: MEN.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2005. ‘Dompter Les Sauvages Domestiques : Le rôle De l’Afrique Dans Les Ecoles Du Dimanche En Suisse Romande, 1860-1920’. In Suisse - Afrique (18e-20e siècles): De La Traite Des Noirs à La Fin Du régime De l’apartheid, 227-46. Schweizerische Afrikastudien. Münster: LIT.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2005. ‘Anthropology’. In Missions and Empire, 238-60. The Oxford History of the British Empire. Companion Series. Oxford.   edoc
Harries, Patrick, and Giorgio Miescher. 2004. ‘Immer Etwas Neues Aus Afrika : Einige Überlegungen Zur Geschichte Afrikas in Basel’. Regio Basiliensis. - Basel 45 (2), 87-97.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2003. ‘L’histoire Urbaine En Afrique Du Sud : Nouvaux Axes De réflexion’. Le Mouvement Social No. 204. La Découverte, 17-33.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2001. ‘Missionaries, Marxists and Magic: Power and the Politics of Literacy in South-East Africa’. Journal of Southern African Studies 27 (3). Routledge, 405-27.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2000. ‘The Swiss Mission and the Theory and Practice of Race’. Social Sciences and Mission H. 9. Brill, 41-54.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2000. ‘Photography and the Rise of Anthropology : Henri-Alexandre Junod and the Thonga of Mozambique and South Africa’. In Encounters With Photography: Photographing People in Southern Africa, 1860 -1999, Proceedings of the Conference Held at the South African Museum, Cape Town, 1999. Rondebosch, South Africa: University of Cape Town.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2000. ‘Cultural Diasporas and Colonial Classification : A History of the Mozbieker Community at the Cape’. Social Dynamics 26 (2). University of Cape Town (UCT), 29-54.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 2000. ‘Field Sciences in Scientific Fields : Entomology, Botany and the Early Ethnographic Monograph’. In Science and Society in Southern Africa, 11-41. Studies in Imperialism. Manchester.   edoc
Harries, Patrick. 1994. Work, Culture, and Identity : Migrant Laborers in Mozambique and South Africa, C. 1860 1910. Social History of Africa. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.   edoc