Before joining the LSE in September 2017, LSE Fellow Dr Jack Hogan spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Bloemfontein, the jewel of South Africa, at the University of the Free State. He obtained both his PhD (2014) and BA (2010) in History from the University of Kent. His research focuses on the economic and social history of precolonial and early colonial Central and Southern Africa.
Dr Hogan is currently working on turning his thesis into a book about the economic and social history of the precolonial and colonial Lozi kingdom, in present day Zambia, and on a scholarly edition of the unpublished journals of nineteenth century Portuguese merchant and explorer António Francisco Ferreira da Silva Porto, entitled The Upper Zambezi Journals of António Francisco Ferreira da Silva Porto, 1847-1884, due to appear with the British Academy/Oxford University Press in 2018.
Dr Hogan's wider research interests and activities extend to subjects as diverse as vernacular ethnohistory, Zambian politics in the twentieth century and the Anglo-Zulu War. In the department, he teaches courses on Empire and Colonial Rule, namely, at undergraduate level "From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century" and "From Empire to Commonwealth: War, Race and Imperialism in British History, 1780 to 1979". At postgraduate level, he teaches "Race, Violence and Colonial Rule in Africa".
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Mitcham, South London – basically right at the bottom of the Northern Line.
Why did you want to become an historian?
I essentially became an historian by accident. I have always been fascinated by history, but when I left school I had to decide whether I wanted to join the army, become a builder or go to university. University seemed like the most fun of the three. When I arrived at the University of Kent to read history, I found that not only did I love it, but that academic life really suited me. Things just went from there.
What is your favourite library/archive? And why?
Without a doubt the National Archives of Zambia. Not only did I cut my academic teeth there, but the staff are wonderful, the material incredibly rich, and the vagaries of colonial filing mean that one never quite knows what will turn up in the most unlikely places. It makes the hunt all the more fun.
If you had a time machine, where and what era would you go?
I would go to what is now the northern part of Angola and the western part of Congo in 1483, to see the great Kingdom of Kongo under the rule of Nzinga a Nkuwu, in the year that the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão arrived.
If you could give your younger student self some advice, what would it be?
Read more fiction, travel more often and try to worry less.
How do you like to relax?
I’m a passionate fly fisherman, love the mountains and am a real Italophile, so my ideal way to relax is to take myself off for a day or two in the Lepontine Alps to camp, fish and eat and drink well.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak English, obviously enough, am working on my Italian, read Portuguese, can communicate in Silozi, and have a useable smattering of Dutch, Afrikaans, French and Russian.
What is your favourite fiction book?
It is pretty difficult to pick a single book, but assuming it isn’t disqualified on the grounds of being a modern poetic reinterpretation of a classic epic, I would say War Music, Christopher Logue’s reinterpretation of Homer’s Illiad.
What is the most memorable place you have ever visited?
The Barotse floodplain, Western Zambia. The fact that this is my research area aside, it is the most striking environment I have ever lived and worked in. It is beautiful, immense, and in places very wild. And during the floods it is like an ocean, dotted with tree-crowned islands which look like ships in becalmed waters.
Read more about Dr Jack Hogan's research, publications and teaching.