Jonathan D. Jansen

Jonathan D. Jansen

Bio and Research Interest

Jonathan D. Jansen is a distinguished professor of education at Stellenbosch University and president of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He was born in Montagu and grew up in Steenberg and Retreat. He completed his BSc at the University of the Western Cape and his teaching credentials at Unisa before doing an MS at Cornell University and a PhD at Stanford University. He was a high school biology teacher in Vredenburg and District Six and spent the rest of his career in university teaching and leadership around South Africa. In addition to his work in changing schools, he leads a major project on behalf of the Minister of Higher Education that prepares promising young academics from the 26 public universities for the professoriate. His research is broadly concerned with the politics of knowledge, as laid out in his award-winning book, Knowledge in the blood.


Stanford University, 1991


2013, Professor Jansen was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award for Africa at the Education Africa Global Awards in New York, as well as the University of California's Spendlove Award for his contribution to tolerance, democracy, and human rights. The next year, he won the Nayef Al Rodhan Prize from the British Academy for the Social Sciences and Humanities for his book Knowledge in the Blood (published by Stanford University Press).  He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 2016-17.  He currently serves as the president of both the South African Institute of Race Relations and the South African Academy of Science. Jansen also holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Vermont and Cleveland State University.


Recent publications include Leading for Change (Routledge, 2016), As by fire: The end of the South African university (Tafelberg, 2017), Interracial intimacies on campuses (Bookstorm, 2017), and Song for Sarah (Bookstorm, 2017). Publications in press include Inequality in South African schools (with Nic Spaull, published by Springer), Politics of Curriculum (as editor), and Now that I know, a book on South African families who were separated by the racial laws of the 1950s.

Contact Information

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

back to top