Prof Sharlene Swartz

DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
TELEPHONE: +27 (0)21 466 7874

Having joined the staff of the HSRC in 2008 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Sharlene Swartz is now Deputy Executive Director in the Human and Social Development research programme, and an adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town where she teaches courses on social theory and theories of development. Her research expertise lies in issues of youth inclusion and collective agency in the Global South alongside issues of social stratification, justice and restitution with regards to race-based oppression. She has also written widely on emancipatory qualitative research methods, and public moral discourses and human rights education. Her current research concerns navigational capacities for the just inclusion of youth in a transforming society; decolonising and emancipatory practices in education and research; the role of dialogue in social change and understanding violence as symbolic, structural and physical.

Sharlene holds a Master's degree in Education at Harvard University and a PhD at the University of Cambridge. While in the US she worked for the Harvard School of Public Health on setting standards for peer education and in the UK participated in a DFID project investigating the impact of education on poverty. Her PhD thesis considered how youth living in poverty understand, represent and enact morality. Before embarking on graduate studies, Sharlene spent 12 years at a youth NGO where she pioneered peer-led social justice and lifeskills programmes.

Sharlene is the author/editor of nine books: Ikasi: the moral ecology of South Africa's township youth (2009, Palgrave Macmillan; Wits University Press); Teenage Tata: Voices of Young Fathers in South Africa (2009, HSRC Press with A. Bhana); Moral education in sub-Saharan Africa: Culture, economics, conflict and AIDS (2011, Routledge edited with M. Taylor), Old Enough to Know: Consulting children about sex and AIDS education in Africa (2012, HSRC Press with C. McLaughlin et al); Youth citizenship and the politics of belonging (2013, Routledge edited with M. Arnot); South African Child Gauge: Youth and the intergenerational transmission of poverty (2015, UCT Children?s Institute edited with A. DeLannoy, L. Lake, & C. Smith); Another Country: Everyday social restitution (2016, Best Red); and forthcoming Moral Eyes: Youth perspectives on privilege, injustice and restitution in African contexts (2017 forthcoming, HSRC Press with E. Arogundade, J. Breakey, A. Bokarie, and A Nyamnjoh), and Studying while Black: Race, education and emancipation in South African universities (2018 forthcoming, HSRC Press with A. Mahali, R. Moletsane, E. Arogundade, E. Khalema, C. Rule, C and A. Cooper). She has also presented in excess of 85 local and international invited lectures and conference papers including a number of keynote addresses; has published over 30 journal articles and over 20 book chapters, along with two journal special issues, numerous research reports and various training manuals.

Sharlene is an executive member the International Sociological Association (Vice President for Africa and the Middle East - Sociology of Youth Research Committee), an Associate Editor of the Journal of Moral Education, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Youth Studies, and belongs to the International Society for Justice Research, the Centre for the Study of Values, and the Association for Moral Education. She is the chair of the Restitution Foundation, a South African NGO, and holds honorary positions as a sometime research fellow at the University of Cambridge and at Harvard. She is a nationally rated researcher in South Africa.


Non-conforming gender identities

This study set out to compare the experiences of self-identifying gender non-conforming youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, and qu....