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Staff Profile

Doctor Hylton White

QualificationsPhD, MA, BAHons
Phone 0117174401
Organisational Unit Social Anthropology
ORCID 0000-0002-0587-3973

Hylton White is a social anthropologist with interests in critical theory, the anthropology of value, and the ethnography and history of social relations in southeast Africa. Hylton has conducted ethnographic research for more than twenty years in northern KwaZulu-Natal, focusing on the ways that people in rural communities make and think about social ties, especially in the context of their households and families. This has led him to publish work on issues such as kinship, the life course, architecture, ritual, customary law, and political authority. He is currently completing a book that examines how Zulu South Africans have navigated the complex ethics of keeping up proper relationships with ancestors in a post-apartheid context of far-reaching sociocultural change and profound economic insecurity. Hylton studied sociocultural anthropology at the University of Cape Town (BA Honours 1992) and at the University of Chicago (PhD 2001), then taught at the University of Chicago and at the New School for Social Research in New York before joining the University of the Witwatersrand in 2010. At Wits he currently teaches courses in general anthropology and sociocultural theory, but has also taught on ritual, kinship, and economic anthropology. He has also served three terms as the Secretary of the Council for Anthropology Southern Africa, from 2011 to the present.




2013. 'Spirit and Society: In Defence of a Critical Anthropology of Religious Life.' Anthropology Southern Africa 36(3&4):139-45. 

2013. 'Materiality, Form, and Context: Marx contra Latour.' Victorian Studies 55(4):667-682.

2013. 'In the Shadow of Time: Comment on Ferguson's "Declarations of Dependence."' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 19(2)256-57.

2012. 'The Fetish and its Antis.' The Johannesburg Salon 5:86-88.

2012. 'A Post-Fordist Ethnicity: Insecurity, Authority and Identity in South Africa.' Anthropological Quarterly 85(2):397-427.

2011. 'Beastly Whiteness: Animal Kinds and the Social Imagination in South Africa.' Anthropology Southern Africa 34 (3&4).

2010. 'Outside the Dwelling of Culture: Estrangement and Difference in Postcolonial Zululand.' Anthropological Quarterly 83(3):497-518.

2004. 'Ritual Haunts: The Timing of Estrangement in a Post-Apartheid Countryside.' In Producing African Futures: Ritual and Politics in a Neoliberal Age, (ed.) Brad Weiss. Leiden: Brill.

2004. 'Tradition.' In The New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

2002. 'Tempora et Mores: Family Values and the Possessions of a Post-Apartheid Countryside.' Journal of Religion in Africa 31(4):457-79.

2001. Value, Crisis, and Custom: The Politics of Sacrifice in a Post-Apartheid Countryside. Doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago.

1995. In the Tradition of the Forefathers: Bushman Traditionality at Kagga Kamma. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.

1994. (with Pamela Reynolds) In the Shadow of the Island: Kinswomen's Experiences of Political Imprisonment in Cape Town, 1987-1991. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.

1993. 'The Homecoming of the Kagga Kamma Bushmen.' Cultural Survival Quarterly, Summer 1993:61-63.