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Dr Isak Niehaus

Dr Isak Niehaus
Senior Lecturer

Marie Jahoda 139


After attending school in Oudtshoorn (a semi-desert town which is the centre of South Africa’s ostrich farming industry), I studied social anthropology at the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand. Since then I held teaching positions at the universities of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria; and lectured at several universities in Europe and in the United States. In 2007 I joined the staff of Brunel University. 

I have conducted fieldwork in two different ‘homeland’ areas of South Africa. From 1983 to 1986 I did research on the social effects of population relocations in Qwaqwa. This work was done in the tradition of anti-apartheid exposé ethnography. Since 1990 I have studied the escalation of witchcraft accusations in Bushbuckridge. My more recent South African fieldwork focuses on HIV/AIDS, masculinity, de-industrialisation and on anti-crime squads.


  • PhD Social Anthropology, Witwatersrand (1997)
  • M Soc Sci in Social Anthropology, Cape Town (1987)
  • B Soc Sci (Honours) in Social Anthropology, Cape Town (1984)
  • B Soc Sci in Social Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology, Cape Town (1982)

Newest selected publications

Niehaus, I. (Accepted) 'Anthropology at the Dawn of Apartheid: Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski’s South African Engagements, 1918-1934'. Focaal European Journal of Anthropology, 76 (3). pp. 1 - 24. ISSN: 1558-5263 Open Access Link

Journal article

Niehaus, I. (Accepted) 'Marriage, Kinship and Childcare in the Aftermath AIDS: Rethinking Orphanhood in the South African Lowveld'. Anthropology Southern Africa, 33 (1). pp. 1 - 22. ISSN: 0379-8860 Open Access Link

Journal article

Niehaus, I. (2016) 'Making and unmaking public health in Africa: Ethnographic and historical perspectives'. African Affairs, 115 (461). pp. 777 - 779. ISSN: 0001-9909 Open Access Link

Journal article

Niehaus, I. (2016) 'Helman, Cecil', in Callan, H. (ed.) International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.

Book chapter

Niehaus, I. (2015) 'Inside African anthropology: Monica Wilson and her interpreters'. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE, 21 (4). pp. 930 - 931. ISSN: 1359-0987

Journal article
More publications(70)