Gillian Hart

Professor and Chair, Undergraduate Major in Development Studies
University of California, Berkeley

CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

Gillian Hart's work is deeply informed by Gramsci's challenge: how do we steer a course between the economism that "only one thing is possible" and the voluntarism that "anything is possible" so as to illuminate concrete possibilities for social change? In grappling with this question, she has paid particular attention to how in-depth ethnographic studies and what she calls relational comparisons can do critical work, both analytically and politically. Professor Hart began her academic career doing battle with economistic and Eurocentric understandings of agrarian change in Java, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Questions of gender and power figure prominently in this work. More recent research is in her native South Africa, where she has traced divergent post-apartheid dynamics in two towns and adjacent townships, and their connections with East Asia. In Disabling Globalization: Places of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa (University of California Press, 2002) she draws on this work to engage critically with discourses of "globalization," and explore alternatives to neoliberalism. Professor Hart has also become increasingly fascinated by the possibilities of journalism, contributing to debates over the future of post-apartheid South Africa in a series of newspaper articles. Her co-edited book Gramsci: Space, Nature, Politics (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell) will be published in early 2013.

last updated: November 8th, 2012