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Research Associates

The SCIS has a network of Research Associates from different disciplines at universities in South Africa and across the global South.


Professor Cathi Albertyn

Professor Cathi Albertyn is a Professor of Law in the School where she teaches courses on Constitutional Law, Human Rights and Gender and the Law. Her research interests include Equality, Gender Studies, Human Rights and Constitutional Law. She is currently working on several projects involving constitutional values and equality.

Professor Lucy Allais

Professor Lucy Allais is the head of the Wits Philosophy Department, and holds academic positions at both the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include the philosophy of Immanuel Kant as well as forgiveness, punishment, and bioethics.

Professor Stephanie Matseleng Allais

Professor Stephanie Matseleng Allais is the Director of the Centre for Researching Education and Labour, in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is also the Special Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. Her research interests are in the sociology of education, policy, education and development, curriculum, and political economy of education, focused on relationships between education and work. 

Associate Professor Sam Ashman

Professor Ashman's fields of research are Post-apartheid economic development in South Africa; financialization; industrial development and industrial policy; the state and economic development; combined and uneven development; political economy

Lisa Chamberlain

Lisa Chamberlain is an activist, attorney and academic.  She is the Executive Director of the Environmental Justice Fund, as well as a sessional Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Wits and a Research Associate at the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies.  She is also co-editor of the Journal of Human Rights Practice.  Lisa has worked in the social justice sector in South Africa for over 12 years, including as Attorney, Deputy and Acting Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, a university-based public interest law clinic.  Prior to that she worked at Cheadle Thompson and Haysom Inc and clerked at the Constitutional Court of South Africa.  Her research interests include environmental justice, water rights, mining, gender justice and sustainable activism.  She is currently investigating resilience-building amongst human rights defenders in South Africa.   

Professor Emeritus Jacklyn Cock

Professor Emeritus Jacklyn Cock is based at Wits University and Honorary Research Professor, SWOP. Her research focuses on the impact of environmental degradation on the poor and the transformative perspective of the discourse of environmental justice. 

Associate Professor Jackie Dugard

Associate Professor Jackie Dugard is based in the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests include property rights, housing rights, access to basic services, socio-economic rights, access to courts, the law and social change.

Professor Brahm Fleisch

Professor Brahm Fleisch is Professor of Education Policy and Head of the Division of Education Leadership, Policy and Skills at the Wits School of Education.  His primary research interests are equity in education policy and system-wide instructional change. 

Dr Kally Forrest

Dr Kally Forrest is a former trade unionist and editor of the South African Labour Bulletin. She is a researcher at the Society Work & Development Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand where she previously examined the fractured migrant labour system in Rustenburg and is currently investigating regulatory failure in the issuing of water licenses in the South African coal mining industry. 

Associate Professor Bridget Kenny

Associate Professor Bridget Kenny is based in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She works on labour, gender and consumption with specific focus on service work, precarious employment, and political subjectivity.

Professor Jonathan Klaaren

Professor Jonathan Klaaren is based at the School of Law and Visiting Professor and the Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research (WiSER), University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests include public law (human rights, constitutionalism, administrative law, migration, and access to information); economic regulation (procurement, international economic law, regulatory theory), and the legal profession in Africa.

Professor Dilip M Menon

Professor Dilip M Menon is the Mellon Chair in Indian Studies and the Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of Witwatersrand. His research interests include caste in modern India and more recently, the intellectual history of the colonial world.

Prof Sonwabile Mnwana

Prof Sonwabile Mnwana is Associate Professor of Sociology Department at the University of Fort Hare. Broadly, his research focuses on land, large scale natural resource extraction and rural social change. He has also taught several sociology modules at the University of Fort Hare University, University of Cape Town and Wits University. He is the former President of the South African Sociological Association (2016-2017). He is a research associate at SWOP (Wits).   

Professor Simon Roberts

Professor Simon Roberts is professor of economics and the Executive Director of the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED) at the University of Johannesburg. He held the position of Chief Economist and Manager of the Policy & Research Division at the Competition Commission of South Africa from November 2006 to December 2012.

Dr Margot Rubin

Dr Margot Rubin is a senior researcher in the South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning. Her academic research has concerned questions of socio-economic rights and urban governance, with a specific focus on south-to-south comparison. Rubin has also run a number of surveys and undertaken case study research in host of different settlements within cities in South Africa and India.

Dr Melanie Samson

Dr Melanie Samson has sixteen years’ experience doing academic, policy, and mobilisation work on issues related to municipal waste management and waste pickers at local, national and global levels. She is currently conducting a three-year research project on waste picker integration and convening a national stakeholder process to develop guidelines on waste picker integration for the national Department of Environmental Affairs.

Associate Professor Volker Schoer

Prof Volker Schӧer is the Assistant Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management; Research Director of the School of Economics and Finance; and Director of the African Micro-Economic Research Unit (AMERU) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

His research has covered a wide range of topics in development economics (trade flows and policy, industrial policy, competition policy, labour market and firm dynamics). His current research focus lies on quantitative education research, skills development (vocational skills development) and its impact on the supply and demand of labour using experimental and quasi-experimental designs.

Dr Ben Scully

Dr Ben Scully is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests include labour, Unemployment, Livelihoods, Social Welfare. His is the lead investigator on a collaborative project funded by the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (Germany) titled “Rural-Urban Linkages in Comparative Perspective: Labour and Land in Ghana and South Africa”.

Dr Thabang Sefalafala

Dr Thabang Sefalafala is a lecturer in sociology at Wits University.

Associate Professor Yael Shalem

Associate Professor Yael Shalem is an Associate Professor of Education at the Division of Curriculum in the Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests include occupational and professional knowledge, and curriculum theory, and knowledge and work.

Ms Lisa Vetten

Ms Lisa Vetten is a Mellon Doctoral Fellow at the Wits City Institute of the University of the Witwatersrand. She works on gender, violence, the state and women's organisations and movements. Her research about the state has focused on the criminal justice system and the social welfare services/care sector.

Dr Alex Wafer

Dr Alex Wafer is a lecturer in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests focus on infrastructure, informality and citizenship.

Professor Emeritus Edward Webster

Professor Emeritus Edward Webster is Professor Emeritus in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand. His current research focuses on the informalisation of work and the future of labour. He has recently published a volume of essays that locates the changing dynamics of work in comparative perspective through research in India, Ghana, and South Africa

Associate Professor Michelle Williams

Associate Professor Michelle Williams is based in the Department of Sociology at Wits University. Her research and teaching interests include political sociology, development, social movements, alternative economic and political systems such as the solidarity economy, social theory, democratic theory, qualitative research methods, and comparative historical analysis.

Associate Professor Sarah Charlton

Sarah Charlton teaches in the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits University, Johannesburg, and has led its research centre CUBES (Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies).  She has worked extensively in low-income housing including in local government and the non-profit sector. Her research includes the interfaces between urban infrastructure and people’s practices, state development initiatives and matters of governance.  She has a long-standing collaboration with colleagues at the University of Sheffield, and joint work has included research on housing, youth and mobility with partner organisations in Mozambique and Ethiopia.