Lebogang Mokwena is a Lecturer in the Department of Historical Studies. Prior to her appointment, she was a National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape. Between two forays into graduate study, she worked as a policy researcher in the non-governmental sector and as a senior manager in the South African civil service. Mokwena holds an MA in development studies from Sussex University, and an MA, MPhil, and PhD from the New School. She completed her BA(Hons) at Wits University.

Research interests

She is especially interested in objects’ cultural, economic, and global histories (as well as these histories’ visualisation) and how we can use objects to explore the connections they create between different places and spaces. Her work traces the history of isishweshwe from 19th century England to its industrial manufacture in mid-20th century South Africa. This work evaluates the textile’s contemporary uses and visual mobilisations against its history of imperial and settler colonial entanglement. 

Journal Articles

  • Mokwena, Lebogang. ‘Along the Museological Grain: An Exploration of the (Geo)political Inheritance in “Isishweshwe Story: Material Women?’. African Studies 79(3); pp. 305-322, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2020.1799751. 
  • Paradza, Gaynor; Mokwena, Lebogang; and Musakwa, Walter. ‘Could Mapping Initiatives Catalyze the Interpretation of Customary Land Rights in Ways that Secure Women’s Land Rights?’ Land , 9(10), 2020 https://doi.org/10.3390/land9100344. 

Book Reviews

  • Scripting Defiance: Four Sociological Vignettes. New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2022. Current Sociology 1-3 (2023) https://doi.org/10.1177/17499755231162820.
  • Eduardo Grüner (Translated by Ramsey McGlazer), The Haitian Revolution: Capitalism, Slavery, and Counter-Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2019. Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, 2022.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8675.12611