Department of Anthropology and Development Studies

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​​​Department of Anthropology and Development Studies

UJ Anthropology

At UJ anthropology we are interested in contemporary lives, and the pasts and futures that give them traction and meaning. Our ethos is based on the acknowledgement of multiple ways of knowing, and a commitment towards understanding the precarities and uncertainties of everyday lives and experiences. This informs our approach to teaching, supervision and research, which we understand as mutually beneficial and integrated. Our concern is developing student-centred, innovative, and creative methodologies and practices, which challenge established hierarchies, are conceptually grounded and offer new opportunities for inclusive learning. 

We publish regularly in leading international and regional journals, and talk at, convene and attend international and regional conferences, seminars and workshops, as well as our own seminar series. While maintaining a commitment to the value of the ethnographic monograph, we pursue new avenues of critical knowledge collaboration with other anthropologists and scholars from other disciplines, and with a much wider diversity of knowledge producers, creatives and public intellectuals beyond the academy, through a rich multiplicity of events, publications, exhibitions, venues and formats.

Outward facing and internationally engaged, UJ Anthropology’s orientation towards the anthropology of Africa is strengthened by critical awareness of how the intersection of global, regional and local processes shape meanings, practices and lives in diverse and consequential ways. We have particular regional expertise on South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe and Kenya, and Lusophone, Southern and Eastern Africa more broadly, and our ethnographic research experiences range from epidemics, clinical trials and hospital settings to masculinities, boyhood and generation; from cities, households and neighbourhoods to water, dams and landscape; from sleep, dreaming and spirit possession to bodies, disease and death; from museums, commemoration and heritage to workspaces, labour struggles, institutions, and political technologies. 

What is Development Studies?

Development Studies is an interdisciplinary social science investigating the fundamental changes in Africa, Asia and Latin America as their citizens confront the challenges of extreme inequality, violence, and value transformation in a new capitalist world order. We examine the cultural, economic, environmental, political and social realities in the increasingly differentiated ‘third world’ to gain the critical analytical tools to understand – and improve – its peoples’ lives. Development Studies is a relatively recent addition to the family of social sciences, combining more traditional disciplines to create a systemic synergy to tackle the explanation and elimination of global poverty, socio-economic crises, and environmental devastation. Our department teaches the basic theoretical and policy approaches to development studies in their historical context, combining them with special expertise in African political economy, development discourse, environmental justice, South African development policy, the theory and practice of human rights, and the culture and politics of youth.

General Contact Details

Department of Anthropology and Development Studies

University of Johannesburg
Auckland Park
South Africa

Mrs Joyce Ferreira

D-Ring 510

Telephone: (011) 559 2859/ 4454