Suren Pillay is currently Senior Researcher and Associate Professor in the Centre for Humanities Research. He has held this position since 2010. From 2007-2010 he was seconded to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa as a Senior Research Specialist in the Democracy and Governance Programme. From 2003-2004 he served as a Programme Officer at the Centre for African Studies at Columbia University. He held a position of senior lecturer in the Dept. of Political Studies, UWC, from 1995-2010. Prof. Pillay holds an Mphil, and a Phd in Anthropology with distinction, from Columbia University in New York (2011). He also has a Masters (cum laude) in Development Studies from the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
While at the HSRC, Pillay led a research team on violence. The team initiated projects, developed funding proposals, and established international research networks, with an emphasis on the global South. In 2008 he helped co-ordinate a team of researchers from the HSRC in response to the xenophobic violence which broke out in South Africa. He currently plays an active role in the Centre for Humanities Research: in 2011 he served as Acting Director of the CHR during the sabbatical year of its director. Pillay also served as Editor of the journal Social Dynamics, published by Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town (UCT) between 2009 and 2012. He has published extensively in the press, including the Mail and Guardian, Cape Times, Ugandan Monitor, Jerusalem Post, and Al Jazeera international online. His awards include a prestigious Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Award for Anthropological Research, a CHOICE Award from the American Publishers Association for Outstanding Book title (2011), and a Special Mention for authoring one of the ten most downloaded articles in African Studies by the African Studies Association (USA) in 2010.