• Hylton White is a social anthropologist at Wits (the University of the Witwatersrand), in Johannesburg, South Africa. After studying anthropology at the University of Cape Town and then at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD in 2001, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Chicago Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, then taught for several years at The New School for Social Research, in New York City. He joined Wits in 2010. He served three terms as the Secretary of the Council for Anthropology Southern Africa, from 2011 to 2017, and he currently serves on the editorial boards of the following journals: Cultural Anthropology, American Anthropologist, and Critical Historical Inquiry.

    Hylton’s interests lie mainly in the study of value and ethics from an anthropological vantage point. Drawing inspiration from historical-materialist traditions of social research, such as activity theory and critical theory, his work is aimed at contributing to the development of ethnographic approaches that investigate how the infrastructures of human interaction shape the normative problematics of relationships. He has approached these issues through fieldwork in various parts of South Africa but mostly in northern KwaZulu-Natal, in the region of the former Zulu kingdom. Based on this work he has published ethnographic writing on various topics — recurrent themes include kinship and marriage, law and moral authority, ritual practice, material culture, and metacultural discourse — as well as interventions in theoretical debates about the material basis of human sociality. He is currently completing a book on ethical problems that trouble interactions with the spirits of the dead in Zulu families and their homes.


Postal Address: Hylton White, Wits Anthropology, Private Bag 3, WITS 2050, South Africa
Physical Address: Department of Anthropology, Robert Sobukwe Block Rm. 21 (East Campus), University of the Witwatersrand, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein 2000, South Africa
Email: hylton.white@wits.ac.za Phone: +27-11-717-4404 Twitter: hyltonwhite

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