Written by Letitia Smuts
Described by one of my Master’s students as:
‘Destroyer of patriarchy, sexism and homophobia, the Khaleesi of Womxn magic, and the restorer of peace’.
I have been a lecturer in sociology for about 14 years, and I love educating students and learning from them as well. But to me, being in academia is more than that. With the research skills I have acquired over the years, I hope to live up to the (very optimistic) description above – be it in finding ways to change policy or by producing knowledge that might ultimately get a conversation started towards social change.
My past research has primarily been on issues related to sexuality, gender, intersectionality, and stigma. I completed my MA cum laude at the University of Johannesburg with a dissertation titled: Lesbian Identities in South Africa: Black and White Experiences in Johannesburg. Subsequently, I published a paper that reflected on the findings of my MA studies: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21528586.2011.621231
I graduated with a PhD at the Vrije Universiteit in the Netherlands with a thesis titled: ‘Getting it Straight’: (Hetero)Sexual Identities, Heteronormativity and Gender in Johannesburg, South Africa. The PhD journey further fuelled my interest in topics related to heteronormativity, thus why this project – FruSTRAIGHTing the norm – was born. The team comprises colleagues and postgraduate students who have a similar passion for the topic. Together, we aim to conduct research on topics related to heteronormative and gender normative perceptions and how to address them effectively.