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News & Press: Awards

Stan Wheeler Mentorship Award

Monday, May 11, 2020  
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In honor of the memory of Stanton Wheeler (Sociology/Law, Yale University), whose mentorship was so important to so many members of the Association, the Stan Wheeler Mentorship Award was created in 2008.

Professors Dee Smythe and Kelley Moult of the University of Cape Town were chosen for the Stan Wheler Mentorship Award for their joint efforts in mentoring law and society scholars and graduate/law students on the African continent. This is the first time the Wheeler Award has gone to scholars based in the Global South and the first time it has been awarded for joint work.

Simply put, by advising dozens of graduate students and early career scholars from across Africa, and by organizing large conferences and small writing workshops for hundreds more early career African scholars who are not their students, Smythe and Moult are among the most prominent builders of a law and society community in Africa. Among their activities have been the two Law and Society in Africa conferences (in Cape Town in 2016 and in Cairo in 2019), and the two Socio-Legal Studies Early Career Scholar Workshops in Africa (2017, 2019, both in Cape Town). Smythe and Moult have created the Centre for Law and Society at the University of Cape Town, which one nominating letter described as “the leading hub for nurturing a new generation of sociolegal scholarship in Africa.” Among others, they have secured funding for the Centre from the National Research Foundation in South Africa and American-based foundations including Carnegie, Ford and Open Society.

Not only have they put time and effort into creating infrastructure for a supportive scholarly community, but they are also excellent mentors for their individual graduate students. One of their students made this comment about their joint supervision of her PhD dissertation: “I used to have reservations about having two supervisors, especially for a doctoral dissertation. My reservation was probably because most of my friends did not have good stories to tell. I must say, however, that the duo proved me wrong. They were telepathically on the same page and always timeously responded to my research. Their supervision understanding rivalled the understanding of identical twins! They helped me to develop my research, writing, administrative, reporting and time management skills, and thereby improved my (previously terrible) confidence and expertise.”

Past Winners * All 2020 Award Winners * All 2019 Award Winners



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