Hylton White is a social anthropologist with interests in social theory, in southern African history and ethnography, and in the anthropology of value, ethics, kinship, life course and personhood. After he received his PhD at the University of Chicago in 2001, Hylton was a postdoctoral Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Chicago until 2005. He subsequently taught at the New School for Social Research in New York before he joined the University of the Witwatersrand in 2010. Hylton is the Secretary of the Executive Committee for the regional professional association Anthropology Southern Africa, and a member of the Editorial Collective for the association's journal, ASnA. At Wits he is Head of Department for Anthropology and he also chairs the Wits Anthropology Seminar Series. Hylton's research interests come from the meeting of anthropology with the interdisciplinary study of value, normativity, and ethics. His work addresses these interests through ethnography in South Africa, focusing on the interplay between changing economic lives, the changing organization of human life cycles, and changing forms of family life and kinship. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Hylton has done about 22 months of longterm intensive fieldwork in northern KwaZulu-Natal province, the area of the former Zulu kingdom. His doctoral dissertation was an ethnography of sacrificial practices in Zulu households faced with economic insecurity in the post-apartheid moment. Now he is writing a book that shows how the longterm crisis of work takes shape in problems of estrangement, mutuality, and ethical life in Zulu households, especially in the context of the ties between generations and between the ancestral and living members of families. The book is based on detailed ethnographic accounts of the ways that people engage with their experiences of being called on to support the continuing needs and demands of the dead.
(forthcoming) 'Beastly Whiteness: Animal Kinds and the Social Imagination in South Africa.' Anthropology Southern Africa 2011 (3&4).
(forthcoming) 'A Post-Fordist Ethnicity: Insecurity, Authority and Identity in South Africa.' Anthropological Quarterly 85(1) - Winter 2012.
2010. 'Outside the Dwelling of Culture: Estrangement and Difference in Postcolonial Zululand.' Anthropological Quarterly 83(3):497-518.
2004. 'Ritual Haunts: The Timing of Estrangement in a Post-Apartheid Countryside.' In Producing African Futures: Ritual and Politics in a Neoliberal Age, (ed.) Brad Weiss. Leiden: Brill.
2004. 'Tradition.' In The New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
2002. 'Tempora et Mores: Family Values and the Possessions of a Post-Apartheid Countryside.' Journal of Religion in Africa31(4):457-79.
2001. Value, crisis and custom: the politics of sacrifice in a post-apartheid countryside. Doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago.
1995. In the Tradition of the Forefathers: Bushman Traditionality at Kagga Kamma. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.
1994. (with Pamela Reynolds) In the Shadow of the Island: Kinswomen's Experiences of Political Imprisonment in Cape Town, 1987-1991. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.
1993. 'The "Homecoming" of the Kagga Kamma Bushmen.' Cultural Survival Quarterly, Summer 1993:61-63.