Call for Applications | ONE YEAR POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP | Regions2050 : Mobile spaces, porous borders, and pathways of regionalization E

Saturday, 15 January, 2022 - 17:00



Thanks to generous funding from Carnegie Foundation (USA) and the Gerda Henkel Foundation (Germany), WISER launched a major interdisciplinary and multi-regional research program called Regions2050: Mobile spaces, porous borders, and pathways of regionalization in 2020.

Coordinated by Professor Achille Mbembe, the Program includes 40 researchers and straddles the traditional divide between Francophone, Anglophone, Arabophone and Lusophone scholarly communities. It also transcends the divide between Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa while reconnecting the African continent to the Southern Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.

This multi-regional research program’s goal is to unlock the paradoxes of regionalization in a setting, the African continent, shaped by multiple porous borders and mobile spaces. Instead of assuming that regionalization is tied to state territoriality, it examines the ways in which frontiers - spatial, material, cultural and imaginary - are increasingly produced by the intersection of cross border flows, networks and informal institutions that are not delineated by states only, but also by technological devices and infrastructures of all kinds and by movement as such.

The Program’s aim is to foster a new understanding of the ongoing geographies of regionalization that arise from: (1) the intensification of mobility, flows and circulation in a context of porous borders, mobile spaces and technological transformations; (2) the accelerated extraction and use of natural resources that has been taking place in Africa over the last century and a half and the socio-ecological transformations it has unleashed; (3) the mutations in causes of illness (epidemics and the increase of non-communicable diseases) and the way the crisis of climate is reshaping the human/ecological/environment relationships.

In this Program, the two concepts of the mobile space and porous borders serve as broad conceptual indexes that will be used to distinguish between (1) different types of mobilities/circulation/speed and different types of borders; (2) the cultuyral and institutional forms generated by such movements; (3) the technological, ecological and spatial reconfigurations that arise in the context of increasing informalization and transnationalization of life forms and processes.


We invite applications for ONE postdoctoral position. The fellowship will be funded for one year up to R250, 000 (medical insurance included), to which will be added R10, 000 for research.

The successful candidate is expected to join the Institute in Johannesburg in person, subject to the pandemic crisis, no later than March 2022.

He or she will be expected to: (1) fully participate in the research program and in its publications; (2) take part in the scientific events and other activities relevant to his or her research (advanced seminars, workshops, round tables, experimental syllabus); (3) produce 2 podcasts or op-eds per year; (4) publish one chapter to be included in an edited volume.

We seek candidates with different skills and training backgrounds (including in health, natural and environmental sciences), who are willing to work on highly innovative research projects (borders, mobility, speed, circulation of people, objects, ideas, technological devices, ecological transformations, regional transport systems, markets and small towns, cross-border transactions, health ecologies and pandemics, trans-regional extraction, enclaves and offshoring etc.).

The fellowship is open to international candidates. African, diasporic and Wits University candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.




Applications should include:


            - A letter of motivation (2 pages maximum)

            - A short CV (2 pages maximum)

            - A highly innovative research proposal (4 pages maximum)

            - A certified copy of the Ph.D.

            - One reference letter

            - A written sample of academic work


DEADLINEApplications should be sent electronically to Najibha Deshmukh (


The deadline for applications is January 15, 2022.

Click here for more details


The research program includes 4 Clusters: (1) Sahel/Sahara/Mediterranean; (2) Congo Basin; (3) Southern Atlantic/Indian Oceanic Africa; (4) African Technoscapes.

A candidate is only allowed to apply in one Cluster.

WISER Research Theme: