Professor Mehita Iqani was appointed to the South African Research Chair in Science Communication at Stellenbosch University from January 2022. Prior to this she was Professor in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she taught, researched and collaborated for almost eleven years. She is the author and editor of several books on media, consumer culture, luxury, waste, and the global south, the most recent of which include Garbage in Popular Culture (2021), Consumption Media and the Global South (2016), Media Studies: Critical African and Decolonial Approaches (2019), and African Luxury (2019). Her PhD is in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics & Political Science. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Wits, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education from the LSE. She is currently the Deputy President of the South African Communications Association. She is Associate Editor of the journal Consumption Markets & Culture, co-editor of the International Journal of Cultural Studies, and on the editorial boards of Cultural Politics and Communication Theory, and regularly reviews for several others.
In the Chair, she will be leading a research agenda summarized as “science communication for social justice”. Under this research agenda, the focus will be on action-research best practice science communication projects, with a special affordance to the possibilities offered by creative modalities, and communications research on social justice issues to which science is central, specifically: 1) climate and the environment, including topics such as urban sustainability, renewable energy and activism; 2) health and happiness, including topics such as vaccine cultures, eco-anxiety, waste and pollution; 3) equity and inequality, integrating race and gender in the scientific public, ethical consumption and rural communities. Prof Iqani’s aim is to support critical research that brings media and cultural studies approaches into issues-driven science communication research. She welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD candidates, especially those interested in radically interdisciplinary work exploring the potential of science communication for social justice.