• I am an ethnographer of race and class in postcolonial democracies. My first book, Delivery as Dispossession: Land Occupation and Eviction in the Postapartheid City (Oxford University Press, 2022), is a long-term ethnography of land occupations in South African cities after apartheid. It studies the relationship between housing delivery and mass evictions in contemporary Cape Town, developing a novel theory of the democratic capitalist state in the postcolonial world.

    My next book project is a study of the independent wing of the anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s and 80s. Based on extensive oral histories conducted with activists from the period, as well as archival research, it traces the emergence of the concept of “racial capitalism” in this wing of the movement, considering activists as theorists of race and class. Above all, it asks what happens when we refuse to separate the analytic and strategic components of social theory: how did the theory of racial capitalism translate into anti-apartheid strategy? In addition to the monograph, this project includes my co-edited volume The South African Tradition of Racial Capitalism, which will be out in 2023 on Routledge.

    I have been teaching for over a dozen years at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Prior to coming to FIU, I was a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am also a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, where I regularly serve on dissertation committees.

    I am Associate Editor of the journal City and Community and a member of the editorial boards of the South African Review of Sociology and Spectre.

research interests

  • urban sociology, political sociology, racial capitalism, ethnography, anticolonial politics, decolonization, postcolonial development, Marxism, Black internationalism, housing struggles, South Africa

selected scholarly works & creative activities


full name

  • Zachary Levenson