Zachary Levenson

Assistant Professor

Global and Sociocultural Studies

Office: SIPA 327

Phone: 305-348-2262



Degrees: PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2018

Curriculum Vitae


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 on the editorial boards of the journals City and Community, the South African Review of Sociology, and Spectre and regularly speak about my work on podcasts. You can follow me on Twitter/X at @grundrza.

Recent Publications

2023 (forthcoming). The South African Tradition of Racial Capitalism, edited with Marcel Paret. New York: Routledge.

2023. “The South African Tradition of Racial Capitalism,” with Marcel Paret. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Advance online publication.

2023. “Is There a Du Boisian Sociology?” Contemporary Sociology 52(3):206–11.

2022. Delivery as Dispossession: Land Occupation and Eviction in the Postapartheid City. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

2022. “The Three Dialectics of Racial Capitalism: From South Africa to the US and Back Again,” with Marcel Paret. Du Bois Review. Advance online publication.

2022. “Make ‘Articulation’ Gramscian Again.” Pp. 187-215 in Ethnographies of Power: Working Radical Concepts with Gillian Hart, edited by Sharad Chari, Mark Hunter, and Melanie Samson. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Recent Awards and Fellowships

2023. ASA Community and Urban Section Robert E. Park Book Award

2023. SSSP Global Division Outstanding Book Award (Honorable Mention)

2022. Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin

2021. ASA Sociology of Development Best Faculty Article Award (Honorable Mention)

Areas of Expertise

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