Patricia Hayes Pic

Patricia Hayes


DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory Centre for Humanities Research

Patricia Hayes was awarded the DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory in 2016. A scholar of African history, gender studies and visuality, Hayes began research on photography and the question of history after completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Initially conceived through an exhibition project on Namibia called ‘The Colonising Camera’ (1998) and supported by the innovative History Department at UWC, the research and teaching project in Visual History became firmly established.

The Chair’s research and teaching converge around issues of visuality, African history, and the archive as method. Visual history brings debates around the image into a discipline that is usually silent about its epistemological underpinnings and temporal understandings. In relation to African history specifically, this inquiry into images allows an interrogation of the different mediums and analytical categories of the history of the continent, from precolonial to contemporary times. Anchored in constantly expanding research in varied archives, the Chair is also part of a movement to promote the preservation and activation of archives, where the archive also becomes part of methodological and philosophical thinking. Specific paradigms and postgraduate research associated with the Chair now include documentary photography; liberation struggles and the post-apartheid; digital photography in the postcolony; and photography and historical method.

Recent publications by the Chair include:

  • Photography and Visibility in African History (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2019), co-edited with Gary Minkley (https://www.ohioswallow.com/book/Ambivalent);
  • ‘Zenzo Nkobi, ZAPU photographer: exile, visibility, and the anteroom of war in Zambia, 1977-80’ in Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol 46 No 5, 2020;
  • ‘War and Vision on New Terms. Archives of the Insensible: Of War, Photopolitics, and Dead Memory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. By Allen Feldman’ in Cultural Critique 109 (Fall 2020).

Patricia Hayes has also edited several journal special issues on visuality and gender including Gender & History (2006) and Kronos (2000 & 2020).  She co-authored Bush of Ghosts: Life & War in Namibia (2010) with photographer John Liebenberg, and has published articles on South African photographers Santu Mofokeng, David Goldblatt, Jo Ractliffe, Omar Badsha, Chris Ledochowski and others, as well as Ricardo Rangel and Kok Nam of Mozambique. Her work appears in Okwui Enwezor’s The Rise and Fall of Apartheid (2012), Crais and McLendon’s The South African Reader (2014), Mofokeng’s Chasing Shadows (Prestel 2011), and Ribeiro’s Proximo Futuro on African photography (2013). Articles on photography and the making of publics have appeared in Photographies (Vol 10 No 3, 2017), Cultural Critique (Issue 89, 2015) and Sanil V & Divya Dwivedi’s The Public Sphere from Outside the West (2015). Hayes is also series co-editor of the series Photography, History: History, Photography at Routledge Publishers (https://www.routledge.com/Photography-History-History-Photography/book-series/BLPHOPHHP).

Related News


List of Articles (2016-present)

Staff and Fellows of the Centre for Humanities Research regularly publish articles and reviews in local and international journals, applying the centre’s intellectual inquiries across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

Ambivalent at Jacana’s Virtual Book Theatre

Ambivalent will be featured at Jacana Media’s Don’t Shut Up virtual book theatre on Sunday, 23 May 2021.

Kronos: Southern African Histories 46

The CHR is excited to announce the publication of Other Lives of the Image, a special issue of the journal Kronos: Southern African Histories.

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The South African Contemporary History and Humanities Seminar will be hosting a launch of Other Lives of the Image, a special issue of the journal Kronos: Southern African Histories, on 9 March 2021.

A Conversation with Patricia Hayes

Professor Patricia Hayes of the CHR will be in conversation with Professor Tamar Garb of UCL about Ambivalent: Photography and Visibility in African History

SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory Review

The SARChI Chair in Visual History & Theory underwent its first-phase review in 2020 and has been awarded a second phase of funding for 2021-5 by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Re-Centring Afro Asia Conference

The CHR presented a panel with the Centres’ Patricia Hayes, Luis Gimenez and Kiasha Naidoo, chaired by Ross Truscott discussing the possibilities and approaches to the invocation of the precolonial at the recently convened Afro-Asia Conference.

Ambivalent. Photography and Visibility in African History Book Launch

Edited by Patricia Hayes and Gary Minkley
Published by Ohio University Press, 2019

Ambivalent: Photography and Visibility in African History (New African Histories)

The CHR congratulates Patricia Hayes, SARChI Chair in Visual History, and Gary Minkley, SARChI Chair in Social Change, on the publication of their latest co-edited book Ambivalent.

WINTER SCHOOL 2020

Exodus, Movement, a/the People: Critical Thinking and the Collective

A Tribute to Paul Grendon

On 7 September 2019, prolific photographer and friend of the CHR Paul Grendon passed away. Patricia Hayes offers a tribute to his life and work.

Other Lives of the Image: International Workshop in Visual History and Theory

From 4 – 6 October, the International Workshop in Visual History and Theory will convene around the theme Other Lives of the Image.

Other lives of the image

Call for papers: International Workshop in Visual History & Theory

On the Edge of History: Photographs & African Archives

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Workshop: the (visual) subject

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Call for abstracts: the (visual) subject

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Seminar: The African Resistance Fighter Jacon Marengo

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The Borderlands: Jo Ractliffe and Patricia Hayes

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Seminar: Empty photographs: Ethnography and the lacunae of African history: Patricia Hayes

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Patricia Hayes awarded an NRF SARChI Chair

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The CHR fellowship programme will continue in 2021 primarily through online platforms. Regulations permitting, the CHR plans to host limited live events in compliance with current COVID-19 protocols. Please follow our events page for updates about seminars, workshops, and arts events.

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