The Chair will focus on original scholarship that critically analyse patterns of inclusion and exclusion and configurations of recognitions and misrecognitions within higher education, particularly focusing on:

  1. Universities as transformational and transformative social systems and the political economy of higher education;
  2. Institutional and intellectual cultures and the renewal of cultural traditions, practices and knowledge;
  3. Socially just pedagogies and its interplay with research and institutional culture;
  4. Social structure of the academy, transformative academic citizenship and the mechanics of academic ‘authority’ and ‘power’;
  5. The power-relations embedded within the organisation of knowledge, its disciplines and disciples;
  6. The politics of knowledge and academic publishing;
  7. Student and staff voice, activism, and the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights within the sector;
  8. The connectionist dynamics between higher education and the state, private sector, advocacy and interest groups, pressure formations and the broader society;
  9. African-purposed curricula and the decolonisation of higher education.


The research of the Chair joins up with the practical expression of the strategic transformation imperatives and programmes of Nelson Mandela University and the South African higher education sector; including policy and programmatic work.