Paolo Israel carried out extensive research in northern Mozambique, focusing on the intersections between popular culture and politics. His doctoral thesis focussed on the historicity of Makonde mapiko masquerades. Paolo has also worked on witch-hunts and occult rumours; storytelling and oral performance. His broader research interests include the historiography of Mozambique, African popular culture, the theory of history, and the anthropology of belief. Paolo lives and works in Cape Town since 2008. He joined the University of the Western Cape first as a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research, then as a staff member of the History Department. Paolo is currently working on three projects: a manuscript based on his doctoral dissertation, titled In Step with the Times: Mapiko Masquerades of Mozambique (Ohio University Press); an edited book on South African historiography, Out of History (with Leslie Wits and Jung Ran Forte); and an edited issue of the journal Kronos on Mozambique: Nationalism and Historiography (with Rui Assubuji and Drew Thompson).
Biography and/or project