Gail Super

Gail Super

Monday, October 29, 2018 - 9:30am

POSITION: Assistant Professor, Tenure Stream


PLACE OF BIRTH: Bloemfontein, South Africa


“It’s definitely research and writing that drives me, and I’m happy to be in a research-oriented department at UTM.”

 After spending her formative years in Africa, Gail Super has slowly migrated north and west. She earned a law degree in South Africa, and practised law in South Africa and Namibia before heading to the London School of Economics, where she earned a master’s degree in criminology. Then, it was on to New York City for a PhD in Law and Society at New York University. Last year, Super made the move across the 49th parallel to begin her academic career at UTM.

“I had long admired the work of my colleagues at UTM, so when I saw this job, I applied,” Super says. “It’s very demanding, but I really enjoy it.”

Within the field of law and society, Super’s real passion is punishment and society; her research focuses on how marginalized communities deal with issues of crime. She explores the ways punishment is defined and practised, both by the state and by the general population.

“In South Africa, for example, unless someone is killed, the state tolerates unofficial punishments such as beatings, but, suddenly, after a gruesome murder, the government will step in,” she says.

Super has received both a Connaught Foundation grant and a two-year grant from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council for her scholarship that examines lawful forms of crime prevention and unlawful forms of vigilante justice in informal (shack) settlements in South Africa. She spent a month this past summer in Cape Town conducting interviews for the project. Eventually, she plans to study and compare how marginalized communities in Canada deal with crime.

“It’s definitely research and writing that drives me, and I’m happy to be in a research-oriented department at UTM,” Super says.

Selected Publications

  1. Super G. Governing through Crime in South Africa: The politics of punishment and race in neoliberalizing regimes. (Ashgate, 2013), 182pp.
  2. Super G. (2017). “What’s in a name and why it matters: A historical analysis of the relationship between state authority, vigilantism and penal power in South Africa.” Theoretical Criminology. 21(4): 512-531.
  3. Super G. (2016). “Volatile sovereignty: governing crime through the community in Khayelitsha.” Law and Society Review. 50(2): 450-483.

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