James Gump, PhD

James Gump
Phone: (619) 260-7787
Office: Kroc Institute for Peace & Jus 267

Professor, History

  • Ph.D., University of Nebraska, History
  • M.A., University of Auckland, New Zealand, History
  • B.A., University of Nebraska, History

James O. Gump, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1981.  He currently serves as the Honors Program Director. In the History Department, Gump offers undergraduate courses on war and peace in the modern world, history of Africa, rise and fall of apartheid, and modern Europe.  His research focus is comparative, South African, and Native American history, with special interests in ethnic conflict, state-sponsored violence, and transitional justice.

Areas of Expertise

South Africa

Scholarly Work

Gump's research has focused on the history of South Africa, Britain's imperial experience in its settlement colonies, and the comparative history of indigenous South Africans, Native Americans, and the New Zealand Maori.  His book The Dust Rose Like Smoke: The Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux (1994), a History Book Club selection, compares the military subjugation of the Zulu and Lakota Sioux from the perspective of these indigenous societies. Gump has also studied the ways in which colonized peoples renew their cultures in the wake of military conquest and forced acculturation.  His publication "A Spirit of Resistance:  Sioux, Xhosa, and Maori Responses to Western Dominance, 1840-1920," won the Koontz award for best Pacific Historical Review article in 1997.  Other publications have appeared in The Historian, African Economic History, Western Historical Quarterly, Journal of World History, and Safundi:  The Journal of South African and American Studies. His current book project is a comparative study of the state-sponsored destabilization campaigns directed against the American Indian Movement and the African National Congress in the latter third of the twentieth century.

Areas of Interest


Gump has taught a variety of courses including surveys in western civilization and world history as well as upper division courses and graduate seminars in African and modern European history.  In addition to teaching departmental classes, Gump has participated in team-taught, interdisciplinary freshmen seminars on the holocaust and comparative revolutions. Other team-teaching projects for the Honors Program, have focused on Africa, restoration Britain, the British Empire, and comparative frontiers. Gump is a former recipient of USD's Davies Award for Faculty Achievement.