Dr Wahbie Long

IAS Fellow at the College of St Hild and St Bede, Durham University (October – December 2017)

Dr Wahbie Long is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Child Guidance Clinic at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. His research interests include the history, theory and indigenization of psychology. His work has appeared in journals including History of PsychologyJournal of the History of the Behavioral SciencesHistory of the Human Sciences, and New Ideas in Psychology. His book on the longstanding debate about the social value of psychology, A history of ‘relevance’ in psychology, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. He also contributes regularly in the public domain, writing about various topics such as Marxism, identity politics, and higher education in South Africa.

Dr Long completed an undergraduate degree in psychology and economics, and an Honours degree in psychology, at UCT, before completing a Master’s degree in clinical psychology at Stellenbosch University. He practiced as a military psychologist in the South African National Defence Force before joining the Department of Psychology at UCT in 2010, where he completed a doctoral degree in 2013. He currently teaches an Honours module on philosophical and theoretical issues in psychology as well as various topics in the Master’s in Clinical Psychology program, including adult psychopathology, psychodynamic theory, group therapy, and critical theory. He continues to practice as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in South Africa.

Dr Long’s work has been well-received by historians and theoreticians in psychology. His paper, Rethinking ‘relevance’: South African psychology in context, was selected as the best paper in the 2013 volume of History of Psychology, the official history journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). In 2015, he was a Mandela-Mellon Fellow of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University and, in 2016, he received the Early Career Award of the Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the APA). He has recently been awarded a prestigious Y1 rating by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

In his work at the Institute of Advanced Study, Dr Long will draw on historical, theoretical and clinical scholarship in psychology to investigate the psychological sequelae of structural violence. Informed by the notion of a ‘political unconscious,’ he will begin theorizing how structures – economic ones in particular – shape the psychological lives of ordinary citizens. His objective is to develop a political form of psychotherapy that can be practiced in contexts of social inequality.