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Prof Ari Sitas (Head of Department; Industrial Sociology & Global Studies convenor)

I joined UCT as a professor in May 2009 after 26 years at the University of Natal and later the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I was a senior fellow and research associate in a number of institutions: the University of California, Berkeley, Ruskin College and Oxford University. I was a president of the South African Sociological Association, a Vice-President of the International Sociological Association and an Executive member of the African Sociological Association as well. I was also a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and, a Guest Professor at the Albert-Ludvigs University of Freiburg. I will be the incumbent to the Baghat Singh Chair of Historical Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University as from 2006.

I chair the Board of the National Institute for the Humanities and the Social Sciences and I direct the South African BRICS Think Tank which serves on the BRICS Think Tanks Council. I have also been appointed on the board of the National Research Foundation.

I completed my PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand on the emergence of trade unions and social movements among black urban and migrant workers (1960s-1980s) under the supervision of Eddie and the late David Webster in 1984.

I am also a writer, dramatist and poet and have been an activist in the Anti-Apartheid movement.

Academic Profile and Recent Publications


I teach part of the Introduction to Sociology in first year; contribute to the third year Industrial Sociology curriculum and teach labour studies, the Sociology of Art and Popular Culture at Honours level and a course on Deviance, Culture and Social Action at Master's level.

Recent publications 

  • (2013) Principal author of Gauging and Engaging Deviance 1600-2000, Delhi: Tulika Press
  • (2011) Co-author of the Charter for the Future of the Humanities and the Social Sciences, Pretoria: Department of Higher Education
  • (2010) The Mandela Decade 1990-2000, Pretoria: the University of South Africa Press
  • (2008) The Ethic of Reconciliation, Madiba Press/Centre for the Study of Social Systems, New Delhi.
  • (2008-Reissue), Editor and author of Managing Change in KwaZulu-Natal’s Industries, Pretoria: HSRC, 1995, now Critical Studies Series, University of KwaZulu-Natal. 
  • (2007) Principal Author (with Dilek Latif) of Prospects of Reconciliation and Co-Existence on the Island of Cyprus, Peace Research Institute: Oslo. 
  • (2004) Theoretical ParablesUniversity of South Africa Press: Pretoria and Brill Academic Publishers.


  • '30 Years Since the Durban Strikes: Black Working Class Leadership and the South African Transition'. Current Sociology, 2004
  • 'Beyond the Urban-rural divide', with Gillian Hart, Transformation, no.56, 2004
  • 'Racist Tendencies Among Cypriot Youth' in C. Charakis (ed), 2005. Anti-Social, Racial and Ethnocentric forms of Behaviour Among Cyprus Youth, Sakkoulas Academic Publishers: Athens.
  • 'The African Renaissance and Sociological Reclamations in the South', Current Sociology, May 2006
  • 'Disabling Actions and Disabling Social Systems', in African Identities,2007
  • 'Harold Wolpe’s Legacy', in Africanus, 2007
  • 'Seasons of Drought Have No Rainbows', in Alternation, 2007 
  • 'Beyond Racism: the Ethic of Reconciliation', in Cyprus Review: Journal of Politics, Economics and Society,2007 
  • 'Populism and Politics in KwaZulu-Natal', Transformation, no.66, 2008
  • 'Race, Tribe and Class in South Africa’s Institutions,' International Sociology, vol. 23 no.2, 2008 
  • 'Industrial and Labour Studies', 'Socio-economic Transformation', in ISA Handbook in Contemporary Sociology (eds. Ann Denis and Devorah Kalekin-Fishman), Sage Studies in International Sociology: London (2009). 
  • 'Introduction: Tribute to Eddie Webster', in Sara Mosoetsa (ed.), Public Classrooms: Essays in Honour of Professor Edward Webster, Johannesburg: Sociology of Work Project, Witwatersrand University. (2009) 
  • 'The New Bandung, Africa and the Re-Wiring of the World Economic System', Darlene Miller (ed.), South Africa in Africa, Pretoria, Human Sciences Research Council, (2009) 
  • 'Jihad - A War Journal' in Boike Rehbein (ed.), Globale Rekonfigurationen vin Arbeit und Kommunikation, Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschafft, 2009 
  • 'The Moving Black Forest of Africa - The Pondo Rebellion, Migrancy and Black Worker Consciousness in KZN', in Lungisile Ntsebeza et al, (eds.) 50 Years Since the Pondoland Rebellion, Cape Town, 2010
  • “COSATU, the ‘2010 Class Project’ and the Contest for the ‘Soul’ of the ANC”, in Sakhela Buhlungu (ed.) COSATU’s Contested Legacy, Pretoria: Human and Social Research Coucil. pp132-147
  • Co-authored with Dilek Latif, “The Potential for Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Social Transformation,” in Nicos Trimikliniotis and Umuzt Bozkurt, (eds) Beyond a Divided Cyprus - a State and Society in Transformation, New York: Palgrave MacMillan. P.210-217, 2012
  • The Human, Humanism and the Human Condition, in Social Dynamics, Vol.38 n.1 p. 40-48, 2012
  • A Dialogue Produced or a Dialogue Deferred? , review article in Global Labour Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2 (September 2012) p. 271-7
  • Rethinking Africa’s Sociological Project, Current Sociology, Special Issue: on Knowledge Production in a Global Context: Power, Race and Coloniality (November, 2013)
  • Narrative, Allegory and Sociological Dialogue in a Globalising World in Keim, W., Çelik, E., Ersche, C., Wöhrer, V. (Eds.) (2014). Circulating Scientific Knowledge: Social Science and International Knowledge Production. Surrey: Ashgate.
  • Deviance and Alterity, in Wallerstein, I ed. (2014) The World is Out of Joint - World Historical Interpretations of Continuing Polarizations, New York: Paradigm Books