Prof. Sharlene Swartz

DEPARTMENT: Equitable Education and Economies (IED)
TELEPHONE: 021 466 7874

Professor Sharlene Swartz is Divisional Executive of the Inclusive Economic Development research programme. She has been with the HSRC since 2008 and has held positions as the Executive Director in the Education and Skills Development programme and as a Research Director in Human and Social development. A sociologist by training, she has been an adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town (2012-2019) and is currently an adjunct Professor in Philosophy at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa (2019-to date).

Her research focuses on what she has termed `navigational capacities? for the just inclusion of youth in societies in the Global South. She researches and writes extensively on transformative education, reimagined inclusive economic development, and decolonising and emancipatory practices in research. Prof Swartz holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK, a Master?s degree in Education from Harvard University, USA, and undergraduate degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand (Life Sciences) and the University of Zululand (Philosophy), both in South Africa. Her doctoral thesis, in the sociology of education, considered how young people who live in poverty, understand, represent and enact morality.

Prof Swartz is the Principal Investigator of a longitudinal research study The Imprint of Education, funded by the Mastercard Foundation, that investigates the ways in which higher education impacts on the lives of first generation students, and how they in turn affect their worlds. Previous studies included young fathers, race and education, the role of education on alleviating poverty, and peer education. Before embarking on her graduate studies, Sharlene spent 12 years at a youth NGO where she pioneered peer-led social justice and life skills education programmes. Prof Swartz has authored six books, edited a further five, has completed nearly seventy journal articles and book chapters, produced fourteen research reports, an ethnographic documentary and presented more than one hundred and twenty local and international invited lectures and conference papers, including a number of keynote addresses.

Authored books include Studying while black: Race, education and emancipation in South African universities (2018, HSRC Press with Mahali, Moletsane et al); Moral eyes: Youth and justice in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa (2018, HSRC Press with Nyamnjoh et al); Another country: Everyday social restitution (2016, Best Red); Old enough to know: Consulting children about sex and AIDS education in Africa (2012, HSRC Press with McLaughlin et al); Ikasi: The moral ecology of South Africa?s township youth (2009, Palgrave Macmillan; 2010, Wits University Press); and Teenage tata: Voices of young fathers in South Africa (2009, HSRC Press with Bhana). Edited books include The Oxford Handbook of Global South Youth Studies (2020, Oxford University Press with Cooper, Batan and Kropff Causa); A history of the human sciences research council of South Africa (2020, HSRC Press with Soudien and Houston); Youth and the intergenerational transmission of poverty (2015, UCT Children?s Institute edited with DeLannoy et al); Youth citizenship and the politics of belonging (2013, Routledge with Arnot); and Moral education in sub-Saharan Africa: culture, economics, conflict and AIDS (2011, Routledge with Taylor).

Prof Swartz is currently President (2018-2022) and an executive member of the International Sociological Association Sociology of Youth Research Committee, a past executive member of the Association for Moral Education, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Moral Education, Journal of Youth Studies, Youth and Globalisation and Autonomie Locali e Servizi Sociali. She has been involved in multiple civil society organisations focussing on youth and justice, and has held positions on committees of the National Research Foundation, and has been a visiting fellow at the Faculty of Education and Centre for Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, and at the Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. She is a nationally rated researcher in South Africa.