Melissa Steynhas been developing Diversity Studies as a field in Higher Education since starting Intercultural and Diversity Studies at UCT in 2001. She is the founding director of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WiCDS) in 2013. Since 2014 she has held the South African National Chair (SARChI) Chair in Critical Diversity Studies. She is best known for her publications on whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa.
Her MA thesis, written while a Fulbright Scholar at Arizona State University, was published as Whiteness just isn’t what is used to be: White identity in a changing South Africa (2001, SUNY Press,) in a series edited by Henry Giroux. It won the 2002 Outstanding Scholarship Award in International and Intercultural Communication from the National Communication Association in the United States.
Melissa is a recipient of UCT’s Distinguished Teacher’s Award (2009) and a CHE/HELTASA National Excellence in Teaching Award (2010) and was a Diamond Jubilee Fellow, University of Southampton (2014—8). In 2013 she was featured as one of Routledge’s Sociology Super Authors. Her recent co-edited books include Decolonizing the Human: Reflections from Africa on Difference and Oppression (Steyn and Mpofu 2021, Wits University Press) and Making Difference Work: A practitioner’s companion to Critical Diversity Literacy for the organisational context (Steyn, Burnett and Ndzwayiba, 2021, Common Ground.)