Research Questions

  • How can the recovery of Emily Hobhouse’s mobilisation of transnational epistolary liberal networks render a more subtle, less teleological, account of South African politics and imperial relations in the period from 1899 to 1926?
  • What do these networks reveal about unofficial political brokerage, letter writing, and the role of women’s activism, in the transnational circulation of ideas and influence?
  • How and why did Hobhouse and her transnational network prioritise peace, democracy and reconciliation between whites in South Africa, and how did this encompass a vision of a new global order?
  • What was the ongoing role and influence of Hobhouse and her circle: specifically, what continuities existed between their projects of peace and reconstruction following the South African War, and their contribution to the work of new international organisations and their South African counterparts following the First World War?
  • How did Hobhouse and her circle’s vision of liberal internationalism and imperial trusteeship influence the (racial) politics of these new international organisations? And how was their ‘South Africanism’ performed and endorsed in this new international context?
  • What does this refreshing of Emily Hobhouse’s international legacy contribute to the politics of public history in South Africa?