ASSAf Distinguished Visiting Scholar (DVS) in March 2024: Prof Loretta Baldassar

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) will be hosting Professor Loretta Baldassar during the 2024 ASSAf Distinguished Visiting Scholar (DVS) programme to be undertaken 12-27 March 2024. Prof Baldassar will deliver a series of lectures under the theme “Transnational Family Care: from social death to digital kinning over a century of Australian migration” at various institutions across five Provinces: the Universities of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Limpopo (UL), Free State (UFS), Rhodes, Stellenbosch and University of Cape Town (UCT).

Prof Baldassar is Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Research Fellow, and Director of the Social Ageing (SAGE) Futures Lab at Edith Cowan University (ECU). Baldassar was recently named Australian Research Field Leader in Migration Studies and in Ethnic and Cultural Studies. She is lead Chief Investigator on a Medical Research Future Fund Dementia and Migrant Communities project; social support stream lead on the National Frailty Kit project, and co-Chief Investigator of the Youth Mobilities project. Her work is widely acknowledged as foundational to the field of Transnational Family Studies, including Transnational Families in Africa (with Marchetti-Mercer & Swartz, 2023). Her research team is leading innovation in social care across the life-course, contributing social science perspectives and methodologies to the creative and caring professions. Her career has been devoted to better understanding the impact of migration on families and communities, with a focus on the role of social support networks, intergenerational relations, and the social uses of new technologies.

She has a particular interest in, and commitment to, the research capacity development of early career scholars, hence her visit includes engagements with emerging academics. During these engagements, Prof Baldassar will on career trajectories, drawing on the tools and insights of social network research and analysis. Topics of discussion will include: finding your authorial voice; toning your writing muscles; diversity and identity in the academy; leadership for the disillusioned; and the importance of breath-work.

The DVS Program will run in the following order:

  1. University of the Witwatersrand: 12 – 14 March 2024
  2. University of Limpopo: 15 March 2024
  3. University of the Free State: 18 March 2024
  4. Rhodes University: 19 – 20 March 2024
  5. Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town: 25 – 27 March 2024

More information can be accessed from the host institutions. Members of the public are encouraged to participate.

More about ASSAf Distinguished Visiting Scholars

The Academy annually invites one or more distinguished scholars from abroad to present lectures at various higher education institutions around the country. The scholars are internationally prominent academics who are inspirational speakers and usually with an ability to bridge the divides between disciplines. The purpose of the Distinguished Visiting Scholars’ Programme is to fulfil one of the Academy’s strategic goals, viz. the promotion of innovation and scholarly activity. Through interaction with distinguished individual scholars from around the world, ASSAf aims to enrich and stimulate research endeavours at South African higher education and research institutions.