Total On Website Since: 22 Aug 2013 10:10AM
Kathryn Pillay
Position Lecturer
Discipline Sociology
Phone 031 260 2303
Campus Howard College Campus
Office Address Room F123, First Floor, Memorial Tower Building


  • (Undergraduate – PhD): BA (Majors in Psychology and Industrial Psychology);
  • BA Hons (Industrial Psychology );
  • MA (Industrial, Organisational and Labour Studies);
  • PhD (Sociology)

Teaching Interests

Diversity and Equity in the workplace , "Race" and Identity, Sociology of Social Issues.

Research interests

  • ‘Race’
  • Identity
  • Migration
  • Xenophobia


  • Erwin, Kira and Pillay, Kathryn. Forthcoming. The Power of Dreams: Young People’s Imaginings of Non-racialism, Racialism and Racism in South Africa. Stellenbosch: SUN Media
  • Pillay, Kathryn. 2017. ‘AmaNdiya, They’re Not South Africans! Xenophobia and Citizenship’, in Christopher Ballantine, Michael Chapman, Kira Erwin and Gerhard Mare, Eds. Durban: UKZN Press
  • Pillay, Kathryn. 2007. The Minority Report: Undressing ‘Indians’ in Durban. In Undressing Durban, Rob Pattman and Sultan Khan, Eds. Durban: Madiba Publishers.

Journal Articles

  • Pillay, Kathryn. 2017. ‘Perpetual Foreigners: Indian Identity in South Africa (1948-1994)’, Diaspora Studies, Vol 10 (1), 45-63
  • Pillay, Kathryn. 2017. “The Coolies Here” Exploring the Construction of an Indian “Race” in South Africa, Journal of Global South Studies, Vol 34 (1), 47-74
  • Pillay, Kathryn. 2015. ‘South African Families of Indian Descent: Transmission of Racial Identity’,’ Journal of Comparative Family Studies, XLVI (1), 121-135
  • Pillay, Kathryn. 2012. ‘Identity Construction of South Africans of Indian Descent through Cross-Generational Research and Biographical Methods,’ Loyola Journal of Social Sciences, XXVI (1), 7-24 

Membership to Professional Bodies

  • American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • South African Sociological Association (SASA)



SOCY 301 – Contemporary Sociological Theory
Sociology has traditionally been conceived as a subject which is concerned with society rather than individuals, and as developing explanations which locate the causes of human behaviour in social structures rather than the  psyches of individuals. But more recently concerns with individuals, identities and agency have been put onto the sociological agenda. The old demarcation between sociology (as the study of society), and psychology (as the study of individuals), has been rendered increasingly problematic. The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to social theory and to demonstrate the value of theory in guiding research, aiding understanding and challenging conventional ways of seeing and interpreting the world. The course focuses on how individuals and their relations with society have been theorised in contemporary symbolic interactionist and social constructionist theories which straddle sociology and psychology.
SOCY 102 – Introduction to South African Society
In southern Africa labour migration in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century has accounted for the most important large-scale movement of people. Although contact brought about by the movement of people adds enormous value and diversity to the receiving nations, it can also confirm difference and strengthen stereotypes that we hold of people different from ourselves, as well as strengthen our own sense of shared social identity that is different from those with whom we come into contact. Immigrants, or more especially illegal immigrants bear the brunt of xenophobic reactions more especially violence, in South Africa. This 3 week section of the course aims to explore the issues related to migration and unpack the concept of xenophobia in South Africa. This course will ask wider questions on the history of xenophobia in South Africa and to gain some insight into the lives of migrants.
SOCY306 – Social Issues: Practice and Theory
Given the wide range of social issues challenging society, the sociological study of social issues raises passionate and compassionate feelings, but beyond such feelings it raises serious questions on ways in which to address its prevalence and help those that become victims indirectly. Since societies are differently affected by social issues, their perceptions and definitions will vary. It is in this context that some foundation knowledge on the study of social issues is necessary especially with regard to how it becomes defined as one, how it is constructed conceptually from different sociological perspectives, and how one goes about studying it and finding a solution. In order to gain a conceptual understanding of the different dimensions to the sociological understanding of social issues, the theme of poverty is used as a practical example and case study to examine its underlying causes, nature, extent, consequences and ways in which societies respond to ameliorating it.
SOCY 714 – Race Thinking and Thinking about Race
This module is an elective within the Sociology (Honours) programme. The purpose of the electives within the programme is to provide specialisation within a specific sociological field of study, and is designed to critically address central social science issues comparatively and theoretically. As such, this module addresses the issue of racism and race thinking which is of central concern at a number of levels within society, ranging from Constitutional commitment to eradicate the scourge of racism and establishing a non-racial society, to interpersonal interaction in everyday life. The intention is also to examine and evaluate existing research techniques employed in the study of racism and racialism in South Africa and in other societies.

Graduate Supervision:

  • Ebert, Stephanie. 2015. MSocSci (by Research). ‘Exploring the Motivations of White Racial Justice Activists Involved in Education.’
  • Ngobeni, Joshua. 2015. PolSci (by Research). ‘The Politics of Student Movements: A Case Study of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.’
  • Hlatswayo-Motsepe, Lula. In progress. MSocSci (by Research). ‘Exploring Financial Literacy Amongst First Year Students: A Case Study of University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.’
  • Chamane, Sandra. In progress. PhD. ‘Sustainable Synergies and Integration in Crime Prevention Strategies.’
  • Govender, Subashini. 2013. MSocSc (by Research). ‘The socio-economic participation of Chinese migrant traders in the city of Durban.’

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