Heribert Adam

Professor Emeritus, Sociology
Sociology & Anthropology


Heribert Adam is professor emeritus of political sociology at Simon Fraser University.  He is originally from Germany, and received his PhD from the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory with Th.W. Adorno as his supervisor. He is known for his work in comparative ethno-nationalism and human rights.

Heribert Adam is a Council Member of Vancouver Institute, Board Member of ISA RC05 and various journals. He has been invited to give lectures and consultancy about immigration policies, refugees and xenophobia. 

Areas of Interest

Comparative Ethno-nationalism, Immigration, Multiculturalism. Democratic Governance. Human Rights and Security. Peacemaking. Transitional Justice and Politics of Memory, particularly Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Country Expertise: Southern Africa, Israel/Palestine, Canada and Germany.  

Select Publications


  • Imagined Liberation: Xenophobia, Citizenship and Identity in South Africa, Germany and Canada with K. Moodley, (Temple University Press, 2015)
  • Ethnic Power Mobilized: Can South Africa Change? with Hermann Giliomme, (Yale University Press, reprint, 2011)
  • Hushed Voices: Unacknowledged Atrocities of the 20th Century
    Editor (Berkshire Academic Press, 2010)
  • Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians, with K. Moodley, (Temple University and Wits University Press, 2006)
  • Comrades in Business:  Post-Liberation Politics in South Africa, with F. van Zyl Slabbert and K. Moodley, (Tafelberg and International Books, 1998)
  • The Opening of the Apartheid Mind: Options for the New South Africa, with K. Moodley, (University of California Press, 1993)
  • Democratizing Southern Africa: Challenges for Canadian Policy, with K. Moodley, (Ottawa: Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, 1992)
  • South Africa Without Apartheid. Dismantling Racial Domination, with K. Moodley, (University of California Press and Suhrkamp, 1986)
  • South Africa: The Limits of Reform Politics, editor, (E.J. Brill, 1983)
  • Modernizing Racial Domination. The Dynamics of South African Politics, (University of California Press, 1971)
  • South Africa: Sociological Perspectives, editor, (Oxford University Press, 1971)
  • Suedafrika. Soziologie einer Rassengesellschaft(Suhrkamp, 1969)
  • Studentenschaft und Hochschule, (Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1965)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Transforming Settler Colonialism in South Africa” in John Stone et al eds, Core Concepts on Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Wiley, in press, 2020.
  • “Merits and Shortcomings of the SA Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, in: Ajlina K Muratovic and Laura Kromjak, eds,  Remembrance and Forgiveness: Perspectives on Genocide and Mass Violence, Routledge, in press, 2020.
  • “South Africa: Promises and Reality”, Sean Elias, ed, Routledge Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, forthcoming.
  • “I will make you pay The resurrection of Winnie Mandela" London Review of Books, Vol.42, 5, March 5, 2020, 38-39.
  • “Corruption, Race Relations and the Future of South Africa”, Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol 82, Summer 2018, 1-11.
  • “Merits and Shortcomings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)” in Ajlina Karamehic-Muratovic and Laura Kromjak, eds. Remembrance and Forgiveness: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Genocide and Mass Violence, Budapest: Central European University Press, 2018.
  • “Privileging Legality over Legitimacy”, in Kalim Rajab, ed. A Man of Africa:The Political Thought of Harry Oppenheimer, Johannesburg: Zebra Press/Random House SA, 2017, 65-70.
  • “SouthAfrica” in The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race Ethnicity and Nationalism, 2016, ISBN 9781118663202
  • “Migrants as an Indicator of Global and Local Inequality: The Case of African Refugees” in Amanda Machin and Nico Stehr, eds. Understanding Inequality: Social Costs and Benefits, Wiesbaden: Springer, 2016, 410-423.
  • “Beyond Shame: The Decline of the ‘Rainbow Nation’”, in C. Quist-Akade and W. Royal, eds. Re-engaging the African Diasporas: Pan-Africanism in the Age of Globalization, Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016, 38-42.
  • “Contested Migration, Refugees and Interculturalism in Global Comparisons”, in KAME 2016, ed. Envisioning New Possibilities of Multicultural Education, Seoul National University, 2016, 313-333.
  • “Xenophobia, Asylum Seekers and Immigration Policies in Germany”, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 21: 446-464, September 2015, ISSN: 1353-7113.            
  • “Realities and Discourses on South African Xenophobia”, with Kogila Moodley, Strategic Review of Southern Africa, Vol.37, No1, May 2015, 200-205, ISSN: 1013-1108. Also in German: Welttrends. Das Aussenpolitische Journal, 108, Vol 23, October 2015, 4-9.

Awards & Funding

  • 2011-13 Fellowship at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Research (STIAS)
  • 2010 Thakore Visiting Scholar Award
  • 2008 Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy
  • 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award of Canadian Sociological  Association (CSA)
  • 2000 Fellow of Royal Society of Canada
  • 1998 Konrad Adenauer Prize of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • 1996-2000 Past President of International Sociological Association’s RC 05
  • 1977-78 SARP Fellowship at Yale University
  • 1968 DAAD Fellowship
  • 1966 Fritz Thyssen Foundation Fellowship at University of California, Berkeley

Visiting Appointments

  • University of Cape Town 1986-2008
  • FU Berlin 1999
  • Arnold Bergstraesser Insitut, Freiburg, 1988
  • University of Siegen 1978 and 1982
  • Yale University 1977-78
  • American University in Cairo 1972-74
  • University of Marburg 1972
  • University of Natal 1967