Dr Rooha Variava
1958 -


Rooha, Variava

Date of Birth:

16 December 1958

Date of Death:  
Place of Birth:

Pietersburg, South Africa

Place of Death:  
Gender: Female
Summary: Academic and lecturer of Philosophy and Ethnicity. As a researcher Variava focuses on issues of race, identity and ethnicity.           

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Early Life:
Rooha Variava was born in Pietersburg, South Africa on the 16th December 1958.  She completed a BA degree in Philosophy and Arabic at the University of South Africa in 1979.  She finished her Honours degree in Philosophy in 1981 and her Masters in Philosophy in 1982 at the University of the Witwatersrand.  While at the University of the Witwatersrand she also taught and organised seminars in the Department of Philosophy. 

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  Sources for this biography
We received this information from Dr Rooha Variava.

Variava won a Cambridge Livingstone Trust scholarship in 1982 and was attached to Newnham College at Cambridge University while enrolled for her PhD in the Department of Philosophy.  She read for her doctorate under the supervision of Dr John Forrester and obtained her PhD in 1989. 

Her PhD thesis is entitled “The Deployment of Racism in South Africa” and analyses the practice of racism in South Africa from an interdisciplinary perspective based on Michel Foucault’s texts.  It covers three hundred years of South African history and is based to a large extent on primary source material. 

From 1990 to 1995 Dr Variava was a Smuts Fellow in Inter-Ethnic Relations in the Commonwealth and a Fellow at Newhall College.  Over this period she also lectured in Philosophy and on Ethnicity in the faculties of Philosophy and of Social and Political Studies at Cambridge University.  She also organised seminars on “Identity and Ethnicity”, drawing in internationally renowned academics such as Ernest Gellner, Stuart Hall, Homi Bhaba, Anthony Giddens and Akbar Ahmed.  From 1996 to 2003 Dr Variava worked as a researcher and liaison officer for the Malaysian Cambridge Commonwealth trust, based at Cambridge University. 

Currently she is an independent researcher working on issues of race, identity and ethnicity, living in Pretoria.

Last updated: May 2007

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