Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) Postdoctoral Research Program 2020-2022 (Funded)

Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) Postdoctoral Research Program 2020-2022 (Funded)

Deadline: August 31, 2020

Applications are invited for the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) Postdoctoral Research Program 2020-2022. WISER is launching a major interdisciplinary and multi-regional research program called Regions2050: Mobile spaces, porous borders, and pathways of regionalization.

Coordinated by Professor Achille Mbembe, the Program includes 40 researchers and straddles the traditional divide between Francophone, Anglophone, Arabophone and Lusophone scholarly communities. It also transcends the divide between Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa while reconnecting the African continent to the Southern Atlantic and Indian Oceanic worlds.

Program Details

This multi-regional research program’s goal is to unlock the paradoxes of regionalization in a setting, the African continent, shaped by multiple porous borders and mobile spaces. Instead of assuming that regionalization is tied to state territoriality, it examines the ways in which frontiers and horizons – spatial, material, cultural and imaginary – are increasingly produced by the intersection of cross border flows, networks and informal institutions that are not delineated by states only, but also by technological devices of all kinds and by movement as such.

The Program’s aim is to foster a new understanding of the ongoing geographies of regionalization that arise from:

  • The intensification of mobility, flows and circulation in a context of porous borders, mobile spaces and technological transformations;
  • The accelerated extraction and use of natural resources that has been taking place in Africa over the last century and a half, its historical pathways and the socio-ecological transformations it has unleashed;
  • The mutations in causes of illness (epidemics and the increase of non communicable diseases) and the way the crisis of climate is reshaping the human/ecological/environment relationships.


  • Each fellowship will be funded up to R250,000 per year (medical insurance included), to which will be added R10,000 for research.
  • The successful candidates are expected to join the Institute in Johannesburg remotely in October 2020 and in person, subject to the pandemic crisis, from February 2021.


  • Open to international candidates. African and diasporic candidates are strongly encouraged to apply;
  • They seek candidates with different skills and training backgrounds (including in health, natural and environmental science and in technology studies) who are willing to work on highly innovative research projects (borders, mobility, speed, circulation of people, objects, ideas and technological devices, ecological transformations, regional transport systems, markets and small towns, cross-border practices, media and digital corridors; cultural and literary scapes; logistics, multispecies interactions; health ecologies and pandemics; trans-regional extraction, enclaves and offshoring etc.).


Fellows will be expected to:

  • Fully participate in the research program and in its publications;
  • Take part in the scientific events and other activities relevant to their research (advanced seminars, workshops, round tables, experimental syllabus);
  • Produce 3 podcasts or op-eds per year;
  • Publish 1 peer-reviewed article and per year and (4) one final chapter to be included in an edited volume.


Applications should include:

  • A letter of motivation (2 pages maximum)
  • A short CV (2 pages maximum)
  • A highly innovative research proposal (4 pages maximum)
  • A certified copy of the Ph.D.
  • Two reference letters
  • A written sample of academic work

Applications should be sent electronically to: Najibha Deshmukh, Senior Administrator, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research via [email protected]

For more information, visit WISER Postdoctoral Research Program.