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Letitia Smuts

Senior Lecturer
Name: Letitia Smuts
Location: C Ring 627A Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Sociology  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 2071


About Dr Letitia Smuts


Letitia Smuts is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg. She completed her Master’s degree in Sociology cum laude at the University of Johannesburg and is the recipient of the Vrije University-NRF Desmond Tutu doctoral scholarship. She completed her PhD at Vrije University, Amsterdam with a thesis titled: Getting it ‘Straight’: (Hetero)Sexual Identities, Heteronormativity and Gender in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also the grant holder of a NIHSS-funded research project on heteronormative and gender normative views in higher educational institutions called ‘FruSTRAIGTing the Norm’ (


D Litt et Phil, Vrije Universiteit, the Netherlands

MA Sociology, University of Johannesburg

BA Hons Sociology, University of Johannesburg

BA Corporate Communication, Rand Afrikaans University

Research interests

  • Sexualities
  • Gender
  • Heteronormativity
  • Intersectionality

United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

Dr Letitia Smuts’ research on heteronormativity and gender norms focus on the following:

  • Goal 5: Promoting Gender Equality;
  • Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities;
  • Goal 16: Promoting Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Selected Publications

Maake, TB, Rugunanan, P and Smuts, L. 2023. ‘Negotiating and Managing (Homo)Sexual Identities in Multiple Heteronormative Spaces: The Experiences of Black Homosexual Mineworkers’. Journal of Homosexuality. 70(6): 1138-1161.

Smuts, L. 2023. ‘Decently Tansgressing: Expressions of Female Heterosexuality and the Discourses of (Hetero)Sexual Pleasure in South Africa’. Sexualities. 26(3): 388-406 doi: 10.1177/13634607211037479.

Mphaphuli, M. & Smuts, L. 2021. ‘“Give it to Him”: An Exploration of Sexual Violence in the Intimate Relationships of Black Married Women in South Africa’. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 46(2): 443-464.

Smuts, L., Reijer, J., and Dooms, T. 2015. Perceptions of Sexuality and gendered sexual roles among students at a South African university: Exploring heteronormativity on campus. Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology, 6(1): 65-75.

Rugunanan, P., Seedat-Khan, M. & Smuts, L. 2012. ‘A Sense of South African Indianness: Citizenship, Identity and Experiences of Exclusion at the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg, South Africa’, In Uys, T. and Patel. S.(eds.). Exclusion, Social Capital, and Citizenship: Contested Transitions in South Africa and India. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan.

Smuts, L. 2011. ‘Coming Out as a Lesbian in Johannesburg, South Africa: Considering Intersecting Identities and Social Spaces’. South African Review of Sociology, 42(3): 23-40.

Smuts, L. 2010. Lesbian Identities in South Africa: Black and White Experiences in Johannesburg. Saarbrucken: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (Published MA dissertation)

Smuts, L. 2010. ‘Careers with Sociology: Evidence from UJ’. South African Review of Sociology, 41(1): 105-119.