Jarita Holbrook

Cite as:

Okune, Angela. 2018. "Jarita Holbrook." In STS in "Africa" Personal Careers. In STS in "Africa" in Formation, created by Angela Okune and Aadita Chaudhury. In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.


Jarita Holbrook is currently an associate professor of physics at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. She recently finished a year as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) & Technology Policy Fellow in NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering. She is an expert on African Indigenous Astronomy and the principal investigator of the Astronomy & Society group at UWC. Her intellectual interest in African cultural astronomy has resulted in academic positions in applied anthropology and women and gender studies before her returning to physics.

This PECE essay helps to answer the STS Across Borders analytic question: “What people, projects, and products exemplify how this STS formation has developed over time?”

This essay highlights prominant and upcoming individuals working on critical science and technology issues in Africa and is part of a broader exhibit on "STS in Africa."

STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more

Black Suns: An Astrophysics Adventure (2017).

Synopsis: " BLACK SUNS: AN ASTROPHYSICS ADVENTURE is a documentary about chasing eclipses and science dreams. It chronicles the lives of two globetrotting African American astrophysicists, Dr. Alphonse Sterling and Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, as they follow the two solar eclipses that...Read more

Holbrook, J. C. 2013. “How Odd Is Odd? Studying Astronomers.” Ancient Cosmologies and Modern Prophets. Accessed August 8, 2018.

AO: This 2013 article highlights Jarita Holbrook's various research projects since 2006 which have focused on astronomers in the United States and South Africa. I am particularly interested in this as she describes her data practices and reflects on the processes involved in data collection for...Read more

Holbrook, Jarita, Hakeem Oluseyi, and Arletha Williams-Livingston. 2012. “Total Solar Eclipse Coverage in Africa: Boundary Maintenance and the Control of ‘Image’ within the African-American Scientific Community.” Critical Arts 26 (5): 762–87.

AO: This 2012 article by Jarita Holbrook et al. focuses on newspaper articles, Internet sites and television broadcasts to analyze the representations of black scientists in the international media. The paper highlights important questions about who defines science, who has the...Read more

"Astronomy in Cape Town" Video Series

University of the Western Cape Professor Jarita Holbrook explores the exciting astronomy research based in Cape Town in her new video blog series.

Watch here

"Black Suns" Trailer

Sasso, Anne. 2007. “Jarita Holbrook: Guiding Star.” Science, June.

AO: This 2007 article that appeared in Science about Jarita Holbrook highlights her studies of indigenous African astronomy. Holbrook is quoted as saying: "There is a history of sky-watching all over the world, but the way that we teach astronomy is only Newton and Galileo and...Read more