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Dr Wahbie Long

Ph.D. (UCT)

Background and research interests

Wahbie Long has a Y1 rating from the National Research Foundation of South Africa. He is a Mandela Mellon Fellow of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, a member of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Indigenous Psychology, and the 2016 winner of the Early Career Award of the Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the APA). His paper, Rethinking ‘relevance’: South African psychology in context, was awarded the Best Article prize for the 2013 volume of History of Psychology, the official history journal of the APA.

Wahbie’s general research interests include history, theory and indigenization of psychology.  He is a specialist in discourse analysis and is particularly interested in the growing phenomenon of co-option in psychology. His current work also focuses on the field of African psychology, in which he attempts to replace cultural questions with an analysis of the interpersonal, institutional and structural violence that pervades life in South Africa.

Wahbie's new book, A history of ‘relevance’ in psychology – published by Palgrave Macmillan – traces the emergence of questions about ‘relevance’ in the discipline since the 1960s, with a special focus on psychology in South Africa.

Teaching responsibilities 

Wahbie convenes a third year course in clinical psychology, an Honours module on philosophical and theoretical issues in psychology, and a Masters module on adult psychopathology.

Selected publications


Long, W. (2016). A history of ‘relevance’ in psychology. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Long, W. (2016). Psychology in South Africa and the end of history. History of Psychology, 19(3), 220-228.

Sher, D. & Long, W. (2015). Cultural discourses in apartheid-era psychology, 1980-1994. South African Journal of Psychology, 45(4), 452-465.

Long, W. (2014). SAPA, science and society: A debacle revisited. Psychology in Society, 47, 41-58.

Long, W. (2014). The rhetoric of racism: Revisiting the creation of the Psychological Institute of the Republic of South Africa (1956-1962). Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 50(4), 339-358.

Long, W. (2014). White psychologists only: The rise and fall of the Psychological Institute of the Republic of South Africa. History of the Human Sciences, 27(4), 139-154.

Long, W. (2014). Understanding ‘relevance’ in psychology. New Ideas in Psychology, 35, 28-35.

Long, W. (2014). Critical reflections on the Islamicisation of psychology. Revelation and Science, 4(1), 14-19.

Long, W. & Foster, D. (2013). The changing face of “relevance” in South African psychology. Psychology in Society, 45, 3-16.

Long, W. (2013). ‘Market relevance’, ‘social relevance’ and psychology in South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology, 43(4), 434-444.

Long, W. (2013). Rethinking ‘relevance’: South African psychology in context. History of Psychology, 16(1), 19-35.

Sher, D. & Long, W. (2012). Historicising the relevance debate: South African and American psychology in context. South African Journal of Psychology, 42(4), 564-575.

Long, W. & Foster, D. (2004). Dissension in the ranks: The ‘Sufi’ – ‘Wahhabi’ debate. Journal for the Study of Religion, 17(1), 67-93.

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

Long, W. (2013). The many faces of ‘relevance’: South African psychology in context. In A. Marvakis, J. Motzkau, D. Painter, R.C. Ruto-Korir, G. Sullivan, S. Triliva & M. Wieser (Eds.), Doing psychology under new conditions (pp. 103-111). Concord, CA: Captus Press.

Long, W. (2013). Theorizing ‘relevance’ in psychology. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 84, 701-705.

Book reviews

Long, W. (2015). [Review of the book Poverty knowledge in South Africa: A social history of human science, 1855-2005, by G. Davie]. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 51(4), 439-441.

Guest editorials

Long, W. (2016). On the Africanization of psychology. South African Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0081246316650853

Long, W., Chiliza, B. & Stein, D.J. (2015). Anger and Afrophobia in South Africa: What is a health practitioner to do? South African Medical Journal, 105(7), 510.

Contact details

Tel: 021 650 3419
Room Number: 3.11
Email Address: