Professor Bundy was an influential member of a generation of historians who substantially revised understanding of South African history. In particular, he wrote on South Africa's rural past from a predominantly Marxist perspective, but also deploying Africanist and underdevelopment theories. Since the mid-1990s, however, Bundy has held a series of posts in university administration. Professor Bundy is also a trustee of the Canon Collins Educational & Legal Assistance Trust.
Bundy was educated at the University of Natal (B.A.) and the University of the Witwatersrand (B.A. (Hons)). He was then a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford (1968–70) and a Beit Senior Research Scholar at St Antony's (1970–72), graduating as an M.Phil. and D.Phil of the University of Oxford with a thesis entitled African peasants and economic change in South Africa, 1870-1913, with particular reference to the Cape (1976).
Bundy was Director and Principal of the School of Oriental and African Studies (2001–06); Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of London (2003–06); Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand (1997-2001); and Director of the Institute for Historical Research (1992–94) and Vice Rector (1994-97), University of the Western Cape.
He returned to Oxford as a Research Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House (1979–80) and in the Department for External Studies (1980–84), subsequently being elected an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College. From 2006 until 2008 he was Warden of Green College, Oxford, becoming the first Principal of Green Templeton College on 1 October 2008, when Green College merged with Templeton College. He retired from this position on 1 October 2010.
His publications include:
- "Land and Liberation: The South African National Liberation Movements and the Agrarian Question, 1920s-1960s". The Review of African Political Economy 11 (129): 14–29. 1984. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- History, revolution, and South Africa. University of Cape Town. 1987.
- Remaking the Past: New Perspectives in South African History (Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 1987)
- Hidden Struggles in Rural South Africa: Politics & Popular Movements in the Transkei & Eastern Cape, 1890-1930. University of California Press. 1987. ISBN 978-0-520-05780-7. (with William Beinart)
- The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry. James Currey Publishers. 1988. ISBN 978-0-85255-047-2.
- Guardian profile, 2004
- Talk by Bundy on Globalisation and universities, 1999
- Talk by Bundy on education in South Africa, 2003
- Article by Bundy on truth and reconciliation in South Africa, 1999
- Two-part video of Professor Bundy discussing the implications of the collapse of the Soviet Union on the prospects for global Marxist revolution
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand
1997 — 2001
|New title||Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford
2008 — 2010
Sir David Watson