Dr Eddie Michel, a research fellow in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria, was recently awarded three prestigious research grants from presidential foundations in the United States. Dr Michel will use the grants – from the Gerald R Ford, Harry S Truman and Lyndon B Johnson foundations – to expand the source base for his research project entitled “The Whites are there to stay! The United States and apartheid South Africa, 1948-1994”.
He is working on a comprehensive critical analysis of the complex and shifting diplomatic relationship between South Africa and the US during apartheid. With this research, Dr Michel intends to move his work beyond a traditional diplomatic history of the bilateral relationship between Washington and Pretoria, and instead explore the broad, and often competing, global and domestic dynamics that shaped the relationship between these two capitals. He is also exploring how the changing stance adopted by the US towards South Africa affected the actions and decisions of the National Party globally, regionally and domestically.
Dr Michel joined the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies in April 2017. His research interests include US foreign policy, US history and the Cold War in southern Africa. He is the author of The White House and White Africa: Presidential Policy Towards Rhodesia During the UDI Era of 1965–79 (published by Routledge in August 2018). The book is based on archival research conducted in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the US, and has been recognised by leading scholars in the field as providing the first sustained critical study of White House policy towards Salisbury during the UDI era, and as an “indispensable account” of broader US foreign policy towards southern Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.