A Social History of the University Presses in Apartheid South Africa

Between Complicity and Resistance


In A History of the University Presses in Apartheid South Africa, Elizabeth le Roux examines scholarly publishing history, academic freedom and knowledge production during the apartheid era. Using archival materials, comprehensive bibliographies, and political sociology theory, this work analyses the origins, publishing lists and philosophies of the university presses. The university presses are often associated with anti-apartheid publishing and the promotion of academic freedom, but this work reveals both greater complicity and complexity. Elizabeth le Roux demonstrates that the university presses cannot be considered oppositional – because they did not resist censorship and because they operated within the constraints of the higher education system – but their publishing strategies became more liberal over time.
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Biographical Note

Elizabeth le Roux, Ph.D. (2013), University of Pretoria, is a Senior Lecturer and the coordinator of Publishing Studies in the Department of Information Science at that university. Her research focus is the history of books and publishing in South Africa and Africa more broadly. She is co-editor of the journal Book History, and has published a variety of articles and book chapters. Before becoming a full-time academic, she worked in the scholarly publishing industry in South Africa for more than a decade, most recently as Director of Unisa Press.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations and Figures
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Origins of South Africa’s university presses
Chapter 3: Between survival and scholarship: Publishing lists and the continuum model
Chapter 4: Authors and gatekeeping
Chapter 5: Readership and distribution
Chapter 6: Business practices and the economics of publishing
Chapter 7: Into the post-apartheid period


Specialists in the field of History, and the sub-fields of Book History and Intellectual History. Also non-academic readers who work in scholarly publishing, or concerned with South African history.