University of Botswana History Department

Dr Bruce S. Bennett

Affiliated scholar
Former member of the History Department, 1993–97 & 1999–2021

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B. S. Bennett, M.A. (Canterbury), Ph.D. (Cambridge)
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Researchgate profile
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After studying in Christchurch (New Zealand) and in England, I came to the University of Botswana in 1993 and taught there 1993–1997 and 1999–2021. During 1998–99 I taught at the University of Malawi (Chancellor College, Zomba). I have taught a number of courses especially in the areas of European history, and research methods and the philosophy of history, but also a range of other topics including African history.

My first published work was on New Zealand foreign policy, (New Zealand's Moral Foreign Policy 1935 - 1939, N.Z. Institute of International Affairs, 1988) but I have subsequently researched mainly in British political and church history, Southern African history, and philosophy of history.

Some publications:

Some articles:

(For further information, see the publications page on my website.)

Bruce S. Bennett, "Women Chiefs and Pre-colonial Tswana Patriarchy", Botswana Notes and Records, vol. 51 (2019), pp. 38–48.

Bruce S. Bennett and Moletlanyi Tshipa, "History, Causation, and the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics", Journal of the Philosophy of History, Advance Articles (16 Sept. 2019),,

Bruce S. Bennett, "Intercalation in the Traditional Setswana Calendar", Botswana Notes and Records, vol. 50, 2018, pp. 18-31.

Bruce S. Bennett, "Omphalos, miracles, and Occam's razor", BOLESWA Journal of Theology, Religion and Philosophy, vol. 5 no. 1 (2018), pp. 174-187.

Bruce Bennett, "Amateur Historical Writing in Botswana: Issues and Examples", BOLESWA Journal of Theology, Religion and Philosophy, vol. 4, no. 2 (Dec. 2014) pp. 68-88.

Bruce S. Bennett, "The Black Swan and the Owl of Minerva: Nassim Nicholas Taleb and the Historians", Historia: Journal of the Historical Association of South Africa, vol. 59 no. 2, November 2014, pp. 369-87.

Bruce S. Bennett & Alison Wallis, "Khama v. Ratshosa revisited: The Privy Council ruling of 1931 on house-burning", Botswana Notes and Records, vol. 44.

Bruce S. Bennett & Maitseo M. M. Bolaane, "The BaKhurutshe Anglicans of Tonota and religious persecution in the Bechuanaland Protectorate", International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 43 no. 2 (2010) pp. 319-340.

Bruce S. Bennett, "Mogotse's Goats and Other Cases before the Gaberones Magistrate in 1908", Botswana Notes and Records, vol. 40 (2008) pp. 21-34.

Bruce S. Bennett, "Ecumenical Readings of Bessie Head", in The Life and Work of Bessie Head: A Celebration of the Seventieth Anniversary of her Birth (proceedings of July 2007 symposium) (eds) Mary S. Lederer, Seatholo M. Tumedi, Leloba S. Molema, and M. J. Daymond, (Gaborone: Pentagon Publishers, 2008) pp. 72-84.

Bruce S. Bennett, "The declaration of the Protectorate" and "The 1891 Proclamations", in Forty Years On: Essays in Celebration of Botswana's Forty Years of Independence, edited by T Mgadla and Brian T Mokopakgosi (Gaborone: Department of Information Services, 2008).

Bruce S. Bennett, "Ancient Egypt, Missionaries and Christianity in Southern Africa" in Ancient Egypt in Africa (Encounters with Ancient Egypt series) edited by David O'Connor and Andrew Reid, (London: UCL Press, 2003) pp. 107-120.

Bruce S. Bennett, "Some historical background on minorities in Botswana", in Minorities in the Millennium: Perspectives from Botswana ed. Isaac N. Mazonde (Gaborone: Lightbooks, 2002), pp. 5-15. [Based on paper presented to the International Conference on Challenging Minority Deference and Tribal Citizenship in Botswana, Gaborone, May 2000, International Centre for Contemporary Cultural Research, Manchester & University of Botswana.]

Bruce S. Bennett, " Dead bodies on display: El Negro in cross-cultural perspective", Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies vol. 16 no. 1 (2002) pp. 8-13.

Bruce S. Bennett, "Banister v. Thompson and Afterwards: The Church of England and the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act", Journal of Ecclesiastical History, October 1998.

Bruce S. Bennett, "  'Suppose a Black Man Tells a Story': the Dialogues of John Mackenzie the Missionary and Sekgoma Kgari the King and Rainmaker", Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies, Vol. 11 No. 1 (1997) (Essays in Honour of L.D. Ngcongco)

Bruce S. Bennett, "The Church of England and the law of divorce since 1857: Marriage discipline, ecclesiastical law, and the Establishment", The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 45 no. 4 (Oct 1994) pp. 625-41.

A few reviews:

Bruce S. Bennett, "The peculiar power of historical science", review of Adrian Currie, Scientific knowledge and the deep past: History matters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). Metascience 29, 301–304 (2020).
Published 21 April 2020; Issue Date July 2020

Bruce Bennett, review of Fred Morton, When Rustling became an Art: Pilane's Kgatla and the Transvaal Frontier 1820-1902. Claremont, South Africa: David Philip Publishers, 2009. Pp. xxx, 314. ISBN 978 0 86486 724 7. Botswana Notes and Records, vol. 42 (2010), pp. 194–6. Originally appeared in Mmegi, 4 December 2009, p. A3.

Bruce S. Bennett, review of Ashley Jackson, Botswana 1939-1945: An African Country at War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) ISBN 0-19-820764-6 (xiii, 281 pp.), H-SAfrica electronic mailing list,, 29 January 2002. [Online at H-Net; also PDF version].

The History Department Web-site:

I created and until now have maintained the History Department's web-site. Any comments or suggestions, either on the content or on the technical side, will be gratefully received.
For more information see the page "About this site"

List of History Department staff

Information for students:

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BSB and friend

Some other interests:

I have long been interested in the relevance of science fiction to history, in particular thinking about counterfactual questions. The great SF writer Isaac Asimov raised questions, especially in his Foundation novels, about how far patterns of predictability exist. You may be interested in some of the material at For cats and SF, the inimitable Cordwainer Smith remains essential. See The Remarkable Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith.

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Copyright © 1999 Bruce Bennett
Last updated 24 September 2021 [PAGE ENDS]