Anxious Joburg

Born and raised in Joburg, Nicky Falkof is a media and cultural studies scholar based at Wits University. She holds an interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities and Cultural Studies from the London Consortium, University of London (2011). Her research centres on race and anxiety in the urban global south, with a focus on South Africa. Her first scholarly book, The End of Whiteness (Palgrave 2014/Jacana 2015), considers moral panics about Satanism and family murder that appeared among white people towards the end of apartheid. She has written extensively on satanic panic in South Africa and also publishes on popular culture, on subjects as diverse as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Body Worlds exhibition. In 2017 she won the National Research Foundation’s Excellence Award for Emerging Researchers. She has also been awarded a Bellagio Centre Residency by the Rockefeller Foundation, a Wits University Friedel Sellschop award for early career researchers, a fellowship from the African Humanities Programme and various grants and fellowships from the NRF, the Mellon Foundation, the University of London and Birkbeck College. She been a visiting fellow at Sussex University and the University of Dar-es-Salaam. Her work has appeared in publications including The Journal of Popular Culture, The International Journal of Cultural Studies, Feminist Media Studies and The New York Times.

Her current research interests centre on race, anxiety and moral panic in the urban global south, with a primary focus on South Africa. She also writes on popular culture, with publications on subjects as diverse as contemporary South African cinema, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Body Worlds exhibition. As a grantee of Governing Intimacies, Nicky has received support for the development of a book she is co-editing, currently titled Anxious Joburg. The book intertwines scholarly research, storytelling, art and photography that examine Johannesburg as a nexus of southern anxieties, considering issues like gated communities, migration, domestic labour, religion, health, whiteness and fear of crime.