CFMS Bids Farewell to Prof. Herman Wasserman

30 Nov 2022
30 Nov 2022

Prof. Herman Wasserman arrived at UCT in 2015 to take over the Centre for Film and Media as Head of Department.  He came to us from Rhodes University, where he had been Deputy Head of Journalism and Media, and served CFMS with distinction and flair as HOD until 2019. At the end of this year he will leave UCT for Stellenbosch University to take up his position as Professor and Chair of its Department of Journalism. 

Professor Wasserman is a scholar of international stature. During his time as Head of Departmen, Prof. Wasserman guided the department into further global standing, helping bring staff to numerous overseas conferences and presentations. He himself was named Fellow of The Washington DC-based International Communication Association (ICA) in 2020. ICA is the world's foremost academic organization for the study of media and communication,  boasting 6 000 members in 80 countries. In 2022 Prof. Wasserman helped bring the ICA Conference Hub to UCT so local scholars could remotely participate in the ICA Paris conference, and has been instrumental in launching the inaugural ICA Africa conference, which is slated to run in 2023 between the UCT and Stellenbosch University. He also helped initiate the highly successful twinned MA Degree in Media Studies between the London School of Economics Department of Media and Communication and CFMS.

In 2020 Prof. Wasserman was named editor of Annals of the International Communication Association, a peer reviewed journal that publishes research from across ICA. He won both the 2019 Book of the Year Award from the Global Communication and Social Change Division of the International Communication Association and the 2020 UCT Book Award for Media, Geopolitics and Power: A view from the Global South, one of his many publications in the fields of media and communication, with a special focus on fake news and media's role in social change.  In 2018 he was awarded the University of Cape Town Excellence Award. 

During his illustrious tenure at UCT he was the recipient of generous grants from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the National Research Foundation Knowledge Interchange and Collaboration (KIC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK, and the National Research Foundation Competitive Grant for Rated Researchers. In 2021, it was formally announced that he had been awarded a R4.5 million grant for an international study on information disorder by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The study will follow a collaborative, participatory approach, which will draw on the expertise of leading researchers and organisations in four sub-regions of the Global South: Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. 

Prof. Wasserman has also supervised numerous PhD and MA degrees, and has been a tireless supporter of fellow staff as Editor-in-Chief of African Journalism Studies (a position he relinquished in 2021) and through his association with other journals both in South Africa and overseas.  He is well known for his collegiality, his professionalism and his friendliness to students and staff alike.  An avid bicyclist, a lover of fine food and wine and a person of exceptional personal integrity, Prof. Wasserman has been a tremendous asset to the UCT Centre for Film and Media. We wish him well.