New ISER Visiting Professors

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Edward Webster, Ben Fine and Wale Adebanwi
Edward Webster, Ben Fine and Wale Adebanwi

The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) is proud to announce the appointments of Professors Edward Webster, Ben Fine and Wale Adebanwi as Visiting Professors. They join the following existing Visiting Professors in the ISER: Di McIntyre, Michael Noble, and Gavin Williams.

Regarded as the father of modern labour studies in South Africa, Prof Webster started his academic journey as an undergraduate student at Rhodes University. He is a Professor Emeritus in the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand, and is the Director of the Chris Hani Institute. Prof Webster is an internationally recognised sociologist who has published seminal work, including the books Cast in a Racial Mould: Trade Unionism and the Foundries and Grounding Globalisation: Labour in the Age of Insecurity. Prof Webster has also taught and mentored many of the leading labour scholars and activists in South Africa, and has been a key figure in worker education. He has held a number of international visiting appointments, and is a Past President of the South African Sociological Association and the Research Committee on Labour Movements of the International Sociological Association. He has served on the editorial boards of a number of international journals, and is out-going Editor-in-Chief of the Global Labour Journal, an open access journal he launched in partnership with MacMaster University in Canada. Prof Webster has been an active supporter of the building of the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) in the ISER since its inception.

Prof Ben Fine is an internationally acclaimed scholar in the radical political economy tradition. He is a Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. One of the twenty-seven books that Prof Fine authored or co-authored, Marx’s Capital, has been in continuous print through five editions since 1975 and has been translated into eleven languages. Two of his books have been awarded the Gunnar Myrdal and Deutscher Prizes. In addition to his international work, Prof Fine has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of the political economy of South Africa. His contributions have included co-authorship of the seminal South Africa’s Political Economy: From Minerals-Energy Complex to Industrialisation, co-editorship of Making Democracy Work: A Framework for Macroeconomic Policy in South Africa (also known as the MERG report), and serving as an international expert advisor on the Presidential Labour Market Commission convened by President Nelson Mandela. Prof Fine has served on the editorial boards of leading international journals in the field of political economy. He has worked with Prof Robbie Van Niekerk on a SANPAD funded project on social policy and the developmental state, and he spent a two-week sabbatical at the ISER in 2013 to work on a book project with Prof van Niekerk and to present a public seminar.  Prof Fine contributes to both the social policy and labour studies streams of the ISER’s work.

Prof Wale Adebanwi is a leading international scholar of Africa, and is a Co-Editor of the Journal of Contemporary African Studies (JCAS), which is owned by the ISER. He is an Associate Professor in the Programme in African American and African Studies at the University of California, Davis. Prof Adebanwi has published widely. His 2012 book Stealing: Anti-Corruption War and Democratic Politics in Post-Military Nigeria was selected as one of the three “Best Books on Africa in 2013” by the Foreign Affairs journal. He has also edited or co-edited a number of books on African politics, and has co-edited two special editions of JCAS, viz. Nigeria at Fifty: The Nation in Narration (2010) and Writers and Social Thought in Africa (2014). Prof Adebanwi has held a Rockefeller Fellowship (Academic Writing Residency) at the prestigious Bellagio Centre in Italy, and has been a Visiting Fellow at St Anthony’s College, University of Oxford. In 2012, he came to Rhodes University as a Senior Rhodes Scholar. In addition to his academic work, Prof Adebanwi has also worked in various editorial capacities for leading Nigerian newspapers and magazines. He is a key member of the JCAS editorial team, which is led by Prof Fred Hendricks, former Dean of Humanities and currently Professor Emeritus in the Sociology Department at Rhodes University.  Prof Adebanwi is leading the organisation of a colloquium on Democracy, the Public Good and Africa that will be hosted by the ISER as a contribution to knowledge on social policy in continental Africa.   

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