Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER)
University of the Witwatersrand

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Acting Co-Director

Hlonipha Mokoena

Acting Co-Director

Keith Breckenridge

Administrative Officer

Adila Deshmukh

Administrative Officer

Najibha Deshmukh


WISER's key objectives are:

- To produce social and economic research of quality and relevance - To create a hub of intellectual exchange and collaboration - To position Wits at the forefront of social and economic enquiry on the continent - To sponsor and promote doctoral study, in ways which contribute to the production of the next generation of scholars - To disseminate research findings in ways which inform critical local and international debates

Since its inception, and based upon these imperatives, WISER has established itself as the leading humanities research institute in South Africa. Conceived initially as engaging the social sciences in particular, it steadily drew on a wider set of critical registers, embracing, amongst others, law, sociology, psychology, history, economics, literary and cultural studies, art, public health, political economy and philosophy. Thus, over time, the Institute has broadened and deepened its commitment to interdisciplinarity.

In particular, WISER has posed and debated key questions related to the post-apartheid dispensation. But it has also located these questions within an exciting transnational and international set of agendas, and brought into conversation with one another a range of constituencies: staff and students of the University, researchers from across South Africa, scholars in the global academy, and members of various institutions, organisations, associations and professions. WISER, through its combination of methodological innovation and rigorous critical enquiry, has had a significant impact on research agendas within the University and beyond, and has helped shape the intellectual landscape of Johannesburg and indeed the country.

WISER will be pursuing six related, research programmes from 011 onwards. These, flexibly interpreted, will form the basis for research projects, student researchers, new appointments, fund-raising and designing a programme of activities. They are:

- Emergent Political Languages and the Public Sphere - Violence and War - Urban forms and City Lives - The State in motion - Life, Death and the Self - Passages of meaning: image, sound and text