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Being Human Today — The Effects of Race

Members of the Effects of Race long term project, back from left: Barney Pityana, Gerhard Maré, George Chaplin, Göran Therborn, Christoff Pauw (STIAS); front from left: Crain Soudien, Zimitri Erasmus, Nina Jablonski and Njabulo Ndebele
From 2013 to 2020, a core group of STIAS (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study) fellows* made up of sociologists, philosophers, writers, lawyers, theologians, psychologists, anthropologists, and educators met each year to discuss ideas and a planning framework for a project dealing with the “effects of race” under the theme Being Human Today.


The STIAS Effects of Race Project addressed major gaps in our knowledge on race thinking and racialism. The project was informed by the need for further research and reflection on “race,” especially in the context of contesting visions for a democratic South Africa. EoR catalyzed innovative and imaginative approaches to “finding race” and dealing with the “everydayness of race,” in order that the “reality” of race can be eroded. Thus, the primary goal of the EoR project was to inform social change through challenging and undermining existing notions of racial difference. The research work conducted under EoR included individual and group projects undertaken by STIAS Fellows and by select outside scholars who successfully proposed projects for support under the initiative.


Results from The Effects of Race Project:



The Effects of Race (2018)

Race in Education (2019)

The Persistence of Race (2020)



Essays in The Conversation

Racism has a physical impact on the body – here’s how – by Nina Jablonski (January 31, 2021)

Why Does Racism Prevail? Leading Scholars Apply Their Minds – by Nina Jablonski and Barney Pityana (July 2, 2020)

How the Dimensions of Human Inequality Affect Who and What We Are – by Goran Therborn (July 8, 2020)

We Need To Unpack the Word ‘Race’ and Find New Language – by Nina Jablonski and George Chaplin (August 2, 2020)

What Young People Have To Say About Race and Inequality in South Africa – by Kira Erwin and Kathryn Pillay (August 25, 2020)

South Africa Needs a Fresh National Imagination: Here Are Some Ideas – by Njabulo S. Ndebele, October 18, 2020


News Items

When the rainbow melts – trying to find out why (March 10, 2020)

What do we wish to change with regard to race, racism and racialism? Fellows’ Seminar by the ‘Effects of Race’ group (August 2, 2017)

Losing the opportunity – continuities of Apartheid hamper quest for a new society – Fellows’ seminar by Gerhard Maré (August 11, 2016)

Celebrity culture perpetuates old stereotypes – Fellows’ seminar by Nina Jablonski (August 19, 2016)

Göran Therborn singles out “Health and education as key long-term solutions to inequality” (August 11, 2015)

Future must suffocate racism – STIAS seminar by Njabulo Ndebele (August 5, 2015)



*Members have included Nina Jablonski (Penn State) (convener), George Chaplin (Penn State), Norman Duncan (Pretoria), Ian Hacking (Toronto), Mikael Hjerm (Umeå), Chabani Manganyi (Pretoria), Gerhard Mare (KwaZulu-Natal), Njabulo Ndebele (Cape Town), Barney Pityana (College of the Transfiguration; formerly UNISA), Crain Soudien (Cape Town), Göran Therborn (Cambridge & Linnaeus).