Humanities Academic Tops Rankings AgainGeneral

Professor Maheshvari Naidu.Professor Maheshvari Naidu.

Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences Professor Maheshvari Naidu is the College of Humanities’ Top Published Academic and Top Published Woman for 2016.

The rankings are based on productivity units from 2015.

 Naidu, who was the Top Published Woman in the College of Humanities last year, took over as Academic Leader Research in the School of Social Sciences in June this year, but has managed to juggle her own research with the portfolio of Academic Leader.

‘Over the past two years much of my work has focused on issues around Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), said Naidu.

‘To this end many of the students I supervise are working in cognate areas around SRHR. The other research niche areas my students focus on are medical anthropology, migration and transnationalism, refugee and internally displaced, LGBTIQ, gender, and food and water security as well as work around conflict transformation,’ said Naidu.

Several of my research students are also working in the contexts of Higher Education in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Additionally, because much of the work is inter and trans-disciplinary by nature, many of the postgraduate students are from outside Anthropology and located in Health Sciences, Sociology and Conflict Transformation and International Relations.

Naidu is currently supervising 19 Doctoral students and two masters students.

‘Many of my students are women from other parts of Africa,’ she said. ‘My aim is to grow a strong lineage of scholars who can themselves increase the knowledge capital in much more meaningful ways than merely getting a PhD. I find that while we have many applicants who register for doctoral studies, aware of what it entails, many are also being attracted to a PhD and full fee remission for completely wrong reasons.

‘Increasing the critical mass of doctorates in South Africa is much more than a numerical exercise and attaining a doctorate is much more than amassing 80 000 words and believing that one is ready to submit and graduate. On the other hand we also have students who traverse the doctoral journey and emerge as the next generation of researchers and writers, able to work in both academia and applied contexts of the social sciences. It is the critical mass of the latter than we need to nurture.’

Five of her doctoral students and two Masters students are submitting their theses for examination this year

Naidu says she has been invited by American and United Kingdom-based editors Mr Dennis Klas (sociologist) and Ms Edith Steffen (psychologist) to contribute a chapter in a forthcoming Routledge publication titled: “The Continuing Bonds Theory in Bereavement Practices and Counselling”.

Naidu was the Top Published Women academic in the College in 2014 and won a Department of Science and Technology National Award for Research in 2013.