Cecil Rhodes and the Commemoration of the Past: Further Reading

By Dr Ian Forrest, Fellow in History at Oriel College. This guide to resources was originally presented to those at Oriel’s internal 14/01/17 meeting on the appropriate means of contextualising the college’s statue of Cecil Rhodes. For a complete list of references cited in The Poor Print‘s report, see here.


Biographies of Cecil Rhodes

  • Shula Marks and Stanley Trapido, ‘Cecil Rhodes’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online on SOLO, or available in hardcopy in Oriel Library.)
  • Robert Rotberg, The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power (Oxford, 1988)
  • John Flint, Cecil Rhodes (Boston, 1974)

Rhodes’s writings and speeches are collected in Vindex (F. Verschoyle), Cecil Rhodes: His Political Life and Speeches 1881-1900 (London, 1900), available online.  For the views of one of his most eloquent contemporary detractors, Olive Schreiner, see her letters.  Two histories of the Rhodes Trust by Anthony Kenny (Oxford, 2001) and Philip Ziegler (Yale, 2008) describe the administration of his principal educational legacy.

Economic and Political History of Southern Africa

  • Charles H. Feinstein, An Economic History of South Africa: Conquest, Discrimination and Development (Cambridge, 2005)
  • Arthur Keppel-Jones, Rhodes and Rhodesia: The White Conquest of Zimbabwe 1884-1902 (Kingston, Ontario, 1983). Online on SOLO.
  • Shula Marks and Richard Rathbone, Industrialisation and Social Change in South Africa: African Class Formation, Culture and Consciousness (Harlow, 1982)
  • Colin Newbury, The Diamond Ring: Business, Politics and Precious Stones in South Africa, 1867-1947 (Oxford, 1989)
  • Colin Newbury, ‘Cecil Rhodes, De Beers and Mining Finance in South Africa: The Business of Entrepreneurship and Imperialism’ in Raymond E. Dumett (ed.), Mining Tycoons in the Age of Empire, 1870–1945: Entrepreneurship, High Finance, Politics and Territorial Expansion (Farnham, 2009), pp.85-107
  • Terence O. Ranger, Revolt in Southern Rhodesia, 1896-7: A Study in African Resistance (London, 1967)
  • Robert Ross et al. (eds), The Cambridge History of South Africa, vol. 2 (Cambridge, 2011). Online on SOLO.
  • V. Turrell, Capital and labour on the Kimberley diamond fields, 1871-1890 (Cambridge, 1987)
  • H. Worger, South Africa’s City of Diamonds: Mineworkers and Monopoly Capitalism in Kimberley, 1867-1895 (Yale, 1987)
  • Chris Youe, ‘Mining Capital and Colonialism in Africa’, Canadian Journal of African Studies/La Revue canadienne des études africaines, 44 (2010), pp. 179-87. Online on SOLO.

A research project at the University of Edinburgh – Whites Writing Whiteness – explores the culture of race that Rhodes inhabited and did much to shape.

Research and Resources Relevant to the Contextualization of ‘Difficult Histories’

  • Madge Dresser and Andrew Hann, Slavery and the British Country House (English Heritage, 2013)
  • National Trust for Scotland resources on slavery (composed for the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007).
  • Judy Ling Wong, Multicultural Interpretation and Access to Heritage.
  • Jenny Kidd, Challenging History in the Museum: International Perspectives (Farnham, 2014)
  • William Logan (ed.), Places of Pain and Shame (London, 2008)
  • Tim Benton, Understanding Heritage and Memory (Manchester, 2010)
  • E. Tunbridge and G.J. Ashworth, Dissonant Heritage: The Management of the Past as a Resource in Conflict (Chichester, 1996)
  • Aspects of the work of Louise Purbrick on history, art, architecture and memory.

Some Initiatives by Universities


All links operational at time of publication. The Poor Print takes no responsibility for the accuracy of content on other sites.

The Poor Print

The Oriel College Newspaper. Run by students, with contributions from the JCR, MCR, and SCR & Staff. Current Executive Editors: Alex Waygood & Aidan Chivers.

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