Ari Sitas

Professor Extraordinary

Ari Sitas is a sociologist, poet, dramatist, writer, ensemble leader and civic activist. He has been a recipient of many honours, including the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver for his contribution to the social sciences and the arts. He has retired from the University of Cape Town’s Sociology Department and from his titular Gutenberg Chair at the University of Strasbourg and has joined the Africa Open Institute as an Extraordinary Honorary Professor at the end of 2023.  

  • Acting Director of Institute of African Alternatives, Cape Town, 2023-4 
  • Honorary Professor, Open Africa Institute, University of Stellenbosch 2023-26 
  • Scientific Committee of UNESCO’s World Humanities Report 2022-4 
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Creative Work, Durban International Book Fair, December 2023 
  • Fellow at CEPED and GRIP Paris University Cite-Descartes 2022-3 
  • Recipient of the Order of Mapungubwe (OMS), the South African Presidency, 2019 
  • Member of Ministerial Panel for the Future of the Science, Technology and Innovation 
  • Framework in South Africa (HESTILL), co-author of its Report 2019-20 
  • Titular Gutenberg Chair, University of Strasbourg, France, 2019-20/extended to 2023 
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town, 2019ff 
  • Director and Principal Investigator of the Multi-Institutional Research Project- Re- 
  • Centring AfroAsia, 2016-21, funded by the AW Mellon Foundation. 
  • 2024: University of Cape Town, Institute for Creative Arts, Writers Series, poetry with the Insurrections Ensemble, (with Tina Schouw, Reza Khota, Kathyayni Dash and Lungiswa Platjies) 
  • 2023: “Beauty can be a Riot and a Dream: About Words and Sound, Not Just any Words, Not Just any Sound.” With Reza Khota (Guitar) and Atiyyah Khan (soundscapes) , Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Collective, Album Pending Release, June, 2024 
  • 2023: Story of a Strike, Director of Performance, Durban University of Technology, Recording Mixed by Andries Bezuidenhout. Delay in Availability because of Copyright negotiations. 
  • 2023: Music Notebook, Cape Town: Chimurenga 
  • 2022: Mapping Gondwana, Mumbai: Poetrywallah (POETRY) 
  • 2022: A Musical Dialogue Between South African and Indian Musicians and Poets, Performance Director with Sumangala Damodaran, International Theatre Festival of Kerala, ITFOK 
  • 2021: Cold is the Ground, with George & Debbie Mari on piano, Herri, no 7 
  • 2021: Giraffe Humming, Performance Director & Librettist, AfroAsia Ensemble Premiere Cape Town, re-performed, Kochi Biennale, Kerala, February 2022; Album: 
  • 2020: Sea-Drift of Songs, Performance Director & Librettist, AfroAsia Ensemble, Premiere Cape Town; Album:; AppleMusic; Spotify.  
  • 2020: Notes for An Oratorio on Small Things that Fall, Delhi & New York: Tulika & Columbia University Press.  (POETRY AND PROSE) 
  • Adapted for the Stage and directed by Anuradha Kapur & Deepan Sivaramanan as Dark Things, Premiere, Ambedkar University, 2019; Thrissur International Theatre Festival, 2019.  
  • Editor and Principal Author (2024) Bandungs of the Mind? BRICS & The Reconfiguration of the Knowledge System. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council Press, (Forthcoming, Accepted and being Processed) 
  •  Co-Author (w Sumangala Damodaran) (2023) Maps of Sorrow, Delhi and New York: Tulika and Columbia University Press. 
  • Principal Author (2021) Scripting Defiance, Delhi and New York: Tulika and Columbia University Press. 
  • The Journal of Contemporary African Studies has dedicated a special issue on Sites’ work in 2023, Vol 41 (3) “Celebrating Ari Sitas.” 
  • The Humanities in Africa- A Tentative Bibliographical Note, World Humanities Report, Paris: UNESCO 
  • Eddie Webster-An Appreciation, South African Review of Sociology, March 2024 
  • Nostalgia as Weapon, New Agenda, 93, 2024 
  • Science and Scientists in Distress, Social Research International Quarterly, vol 90, no.1, 2023  
  • (with Wiebke Keim), A state-led strategy of decentralization. The BRICS experience in L. Medina-Rodriguez and S. Harding, Decentralizing Knowledges, Duke University Press. 2023. 
  • The Shredding of the Mandela Dividend, New Agenda, 87, 2022. 
  • Culture in My Working Life: Responses to my Compeers in Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Issue 4, 2021