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Lucien van der Walt


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Lucien van der Walt

Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa

Excellence in research and teaching
Professionalism at work
Social justice for all
Building working class movements

Contact details

Web presence

Business Address

Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, 6139

Professional details

Current Position(s)

Professor | Rhodes University
2012 - present

Academia, Education and Training

Lecturing, supervising and researching in the history and sociology of labour and left movements, and capitalist restructuring in the neo-liberal era. Specialist in anarchism / syndicalism, unions, state enterprises.

Previous Position(s)

Visiting Professor | University of Kassel
Kassel, Germany | 2011 - 2011

Academia, Education and Training

Visiting lecturer in Global Labour University programme.

Associate Professor (previously Senior Lecturer) | University of the Witwatersrand
2000 - 2012

Academia, Education and Training

Working on anarchism/ syndicalism, unions, class struggle, national liberation politics, state enterprise restructuring and neo-liberalism more generally.

Media Officer + Research Subcommittee | Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), Gauteng
2000 - 2003

Academia, Education and Training

Was one of two media officers, dealing with press statements, leaflets, posters; also editing the "Anti-Privatisation Monitor." This was a volunteer position.

Was also coordinator, then member of the Research Subcommittee, which tracked struggles around neo-liberal restructuring in Gauteng. This was a volunteer position.

Executive member, educator | Workers' Library and Museum, Johannesburg
1998 - 2002

Academia, Education and Training

Fundraising and reporting, organising education workshops with unions and movements, co-managing Workers' Bookshop, talks, administration. Also vice-chair, coordinator of Education Subcommittee. This was a volunteer position.

Educational history


Westridge High, Roodepoort, South Africa (1990)
Town View High, Krugersdorp, South Africa (1986)


University of the Witwatersrand

1997 - 2007

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Industrial and Economic Sociology

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa | February 1997 - October 1999

MA in Industrial Sociology - This was converted into a PhD, and is not therefore awarded as a degree

University of the Witwatersrand

Johannesburg, South Africa | February 1996 - December 1996

BA (Honours) - Industrial Sociology

University of the Witwatersrand

Johannesburg, South Africa | February 1995 - December 1995

BA (occasional student) - Economic History

University of the Witwatersrand

Johannesburg, South Africa | February 1991 - November 1994

BA - History, Political Studies and Sociology



CODESRIA African thesis award | 2007

Best African PhD, awarded by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).

'Labor History' international thesis prize | 2007

Best PhD globally in area of labour history.

Shortlist and nomination

Wits Vice-Chancellors distinguished Teaching Award | 2010

CLR James Book Award | 2010

Nominated for "Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism" (2009, AK Press, with Michael Schmidt)

Academic Achievements

Journal special: (w. Philip Bonner, Jon Hyslop, "Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on Soutern African Labour History" | 2007

"Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on Southern African Labour History," special issue of "African Studies," volume 66, numbers 2-3.

Journal special: (w. Peter Alexander, Philip Bonner, Jon Hyslop), "Labour Crossings in Eastern and Southern Africa" | 2009

Special section of "African Studies," volume 68, number 1.

Encyclopaedia: Southern Africa editor, "International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest," Blackwell, New York. | 2009

Journal special: (w. Devan Pillay), "The Politics of Organized Labour in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 21st Century" | 2012

Special issue of "Labour, Capital and Society," volume 44, number 2, with the Global Labour University.

Book: (w. Michael Schmidt), "Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism" (Counter-Power vol. 1) | 2009

Book: (w. Steven J. Hirsch, and Benedict Anderson) "Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940" | 2010

General publications | 2013

Besides 2 books and 3 edited journal specials, Lucien van der Walt has published numerous academic journal articles and book chapters, presented papers at more than 80 events, serves on 4 editorial boards, has co-edited 1 encyclopaedia, and published over 90 'popular' articles in papers such as the 'South African Labour Bulletin,' the 'Sowetan,' and 'Zabalaza: a journal of southern African revolutionary anarchism.'

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