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Professor Fiona C Ross

Associate Professor Fiona C RossMSocSc PhD Cape Town


I currently hold an AW Mellon funded Research Chair (2013-17), which takes the emergent biosocial field of ‘the First Thousand Days of Life’ as its subject. The work consists in three projects: (i) Formations of Life; (ii) Genes, Technologies, Genealogies; (iii) Nutrition, Nourishment and Well-being. Each of these is home to a wide range of anthropological research projects that explore the ways that human life comes into being and is understood by a range of actors. Drawing on diverse approaches - ethnographic, STS, historical, among others – the research examines how new scientific knowledge (such as that engendered by epigenetics, neuroscience, reproductive health, etc.) and everyday modes of world-making shape the conditions under which life is made, endured, enabled and constrained. Full details are available on:


Raw Life, New HopeThis work builds on earlier research that documents the enduring effects of apartheid on everyday life, and explores efforts to remedy harm, both in terms of Commissions of enquiry and in terms of state provision of housing. Raw Life, New Hope: Decency, housing and everyday life in a post-apartheid community offers an ethnographic account of the possibilities and reframings of ordinary social worlds in Cape Town, South Africa’s most racially segregated city. The book is available as a conventional book and is also OpenSource (see UCT Press, 2010). Raw Life, New Hope is also available via UCT Open Content pages.




My work on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has given rise to a wide range of publications that explore questions of gender, justice, voice, violence and remedy. Bearing Witness: Women and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Pluto Press 2003) is a critical account of the workings of gender in the garnering of an account of human rights violations under apartheid.

I am a full Professor and an NRF rated scholar.




Dr Fiona Ross

Research and Publications CV