Call for applications: Two postdoctoral fellowship opportunities mobility, politics, and transformation in sub-Saharan Africa

Under the auspices of the South African Research Chair for Mobility & the Politics of Difference, the African Centre for Migration & Society at Wits University seeks applications for two post-doctoral fellows.

Under the auspices of the South African Research Chair for Mobility & the Politics of Difference, the African Centre for Migration & Society at Wits University seeks applications for two post-doctoral fellows. Fellows will be appointed for a period of one to two years beginning as early as January 2019. Compensation is at the maximum allowable under South African tax code. Descriptions follow:

Mobility, diversity, and temporality in African cities:

This fellow will conduct innovative explorations of human mobility’s role in transforming modes of social engagement, authority, and political subjectifications in sub-Saharan cities. The ACMS particularly welcomes critical scholars from across the social sciences or humanities engaged at the intersection of space and time. The successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary team of scholars aiming to reshape global social theory and academic conversations on mobility, cities and political authority and ethics. Such work is intended to open new scholarly frontiers while informing and enhancing sub-Saharan Africa’s visibility in both academic and policy debates. With a home base in Johannesburg, scholars will be encouraged to develop and participate in projects across the region.

Law and the regulation of difference:

Working closely with the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, this fellow will consider and theorise the legal regulation of ‘otherness.’ Incorporating questions of immigration, ethnicity, religion, and other axes of difference, the project is intended to consider the role of law in shaping citizenship and subjectivities. Although intended to inform practical anti-discrimination efforts, the successful applicant will also speak to broader socio-legal theory. The precise subject is undetermined but should consider the nature of law and its real and potential role in shaping the future of Africa’s diverse and mobile societies in an era of populism and securitization.
Scholars from under-represented communities are particularly encouraged to apply. Applications should include a cover letter, a CV, the names of three academic or professional references, and a sample of relevant scholarly writing of between 4,000-10,000 words.

Applications are due 1 May 2018.

For more information, contact Kabiri Bule: kabiri@migration.org.za

Paper on Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa out Now

I am happy to announce that my paper on attitudes to immigrants in South Africa is now available at the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS). It all started with a literature on xenophobic violence I could not quite believe. This quote sums it up quite nicely: “All South Africans appear to have the same stereotypical image of Southern Africans.” (Mattes et al. 1999, p.2). It went across what I knew about attitudes to foreigners elsewhere, and crucially I did not come across an explanation why South Africa would be such an exceptional case. Having churned the numbers, I come to quite a different conclusion. Not only are there discernable patterns in South African attitudes to immigrants, but indeed:

When implemented to reflect the specific context, research on attitudes to immigrants appears to generalise to non-Western contexts.

So this paper serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it shows that what we have learned in Western Europe and North America does indeed seem to apply elsewhere. This is an important test of validity. On the other hand, it presents research on an under-researched country and indeed continent! In a context where xenophobic violence is a recurring phenomenon, I demonstrate that we do not have to tap entirely in the dark.

Supplemental material on OSF, where I also linked a short summary of the research.