surren pillay

Suren Pillay

Associate Professor
Senior Researcher

Suren Pillay is currently Senior Researcher and Associate Professor in the Centre for Humanities Research. He is also the current Deputy Dean : Research and Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. 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). He has held visiting professorships at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; and the Makerere Institute for Social Research, Makerere University, Uganda.

His research areas focus on the political and intellectual legacies of colonialism in the present; with a focus on citizenship and political violence; settler colonialism and justice, and the politics of knowledge production. He is currently the Principal Investigator of an Andrew W. Mellon funded supranational research project, Other Universals: Thinking from the South on Traditions of Politics and Aesthetics, a consortium of seven universities across the South. And he is Principal Investigator of another Mellon-funded project, Citizenship and Justice: Rethinking Political Theory and Philosophy

Pillay is currently an editor of the journal, Postcolonial Studies,; an editor of the journal Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa; a member of the editorial collective of the MISR Review, published by the Makerere Institute for Social Research.He also serves on the International Advisory board of the journal Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory,; 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.

In addition to his scholarly publications, 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.

Suren Pillay is a board members of the Program on African Social Research (PASR). PASR is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is based at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York.PASIRI,


Related  News

On the Subject of Citizenship: Late colonialism in the world today, edited by Professor Suren Pillay

On the Subject of Citizenship: Late colonialism in the world today brings together reflections on citizenship, political violence, race, ethnicity and gender, by some of the most critical voices of our times.


Roundtable and Book Presentation

Centre for the Study of Developing Societies co-hosted by the Berlin University Alliance Centre and the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) Delhi’.

On 25 November, 2022, Suren Pillay took part in a working group session co-hosted by the Berlin University Alliance Centre and the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) Dehli, on ‘Decolonial Thinking in a Comparative Perspective’.

Reconsidering Reparations

The Other Universals consortium will be hosting a webinar with Dr Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò on 28 October 2022.

DSI-NRF Early Career Doctoral Fellows: Meet the Next Generation

The CHR’s Flagship fellowship programme for early career scholars is at the heart of a deep commitment to transforming higher education at the doctoral level in South Africa.

Book Chapters List

Contributions by Staff and Fellows of the Centre for Humanities Research to edited volumes represent a diverse engagement with the centre’s academic inquiries. The following list shows publications from the latter years of the centre’s output.

List of Articles (2016-present)

Staff and Fellows of the Centre for Humanities Research regularly publish articles and reviews in local and international journals, applying the centre’s intellectual inquiries across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

Democracy: Genealogies, Concepts, and Practices

A conference hosted by the CHR from 17 – 18 December 2019 will explore the relationship between the genealogy, the concept and the practice of democracy.

Suren Pillay speaks on xenophobic violence

Professor Suren Pillay of the CHR participated in a conversation around xenophobic violence in South Africa.

The Subject Races: Populations, Classifications, Justice

The workshop is therefore interested in how we might think, conceptually, historically, politically, about the figure of the subject races across these African experiences.

Workshop: Migrants, Markets and the Modalities of Rule

The Migrating Violence Research Platform of the Centre for Humanities Research presents a workshop on Migrants, Markets and the Modalities of Rule.

Publication: Suren Pillay

Thinking the State from Africa: Political Theory, Eurocentrism and Concrete Politics

Publication: Suren Pillay and Carlos Fernandes in conversation with Souleymane Bachir Diagne

The CHR is pleased to announce a new publication by Senior Researcher at the Centre for Humanities Research and Associate Professor Suren Pillay and former […]