Stephen Ellis (in memoriam)

Teaching and research

Professor Stephen Ellis was a historian by profession and obtained his PhD at Oxford University. He specialized in contemporary African history. As a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, he gave lectures in the African studies research Master’s.

Inaugural lecture

Stephen Ellis’s research in the Desmond Tutu Programme concentrated on conflicts, violence and security in South Africa, and how and why people resort to violence: how political violence can be distinguished from criminal violence and what the causes of structural violence are at both the macro and micro level.

In his lecture, “South Africa and the Decolonization of the Mind”, prof. Ellis urged the Europeans to decolonize their minds. Both Europeans and Africans should develop a new vision on the history of a relationship that is all too often mainly studied through the prism of colonial rule.