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Eve Wong

Our Students

Eve Wong

Eve WongMatriculated September 2008

In South Africa after apartheid, the core challenge facing the new “rainbow nation” is, on one hand: How can a cohesive, integrated, and inclusive democracy be built from a population facing yawning and pervasive divisions? And on the other: What can account for these apparent failures? What are the limitations of national unity and multiculturalism in the new South Africa? South Africa is not alone in struggling with the problems surrounding multiculturalism, national identity, and the fashioning of heterogenous democracies. In recent decades, the world has seen vast and powerful globalizing forces and massive surges of transnational flows of both cultural and material products, as well as the emigrating and immigrating of human populations. This complicates the conventional literature on nationalism, which was predicated on either the homogenous imaginaries of a shared ontological essence in ethnicity and/or race; or else a communal orientational sociality in culture and tradition. From recent debates in France surrounding the headscarf ban, their youth riots of 2006, and the admissions examinations of les grandes écoles to American concerns with undocumented immigrants as reflected in the recent Arizona Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Arizona SB 1070) and the failure to pass the DREAM act; the problem of cohering and maintaining national identities and stable democracies while integrating difference and multiculturalism is a globally salient problem.

Eve’s research explores the interconnections, symbiosis and tensions within and between notions of nationalism and citizenship; and its relationship to racial and ethnic identification in Cape Town, South Africa. She is curious about how these reflect identities in progress and in flux, social movements, and the dialogues of memory, coherence and resistance in emerging democracies built on inclusive ideologies of pluralism and multiculturalism. She has conducted fieldwork throughout South Africa, particularly in Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal.

Prior to entering the PhD program, Eve had an extensive career as an user experience and interface developer/designer. She has worked with luminous clients such as Imagine Media, the Audubon Institute and Mother Jones magazine. Her work has been used as case studies for undergraduate design courses in universities such as the University of Glasgow, and has received praise in the New York Times bestselling memoir 29 Gifts. Her poetry and photographs have been published in well-respected literary and art journals such as the Hudson Review and New Orleans Review.

In 2008, she worked and lived in a township outside of Cape Town where she developed an after-school program teaching web development and design for local youth. In 2009, she participated in a Fulbright-Hays program abroad studying Zulu language, literature, and culture. She has taught at Wheelock College, Boston University, and M.I.T. She holds degrees in American History, Anthropology, and Classics and has proficiencies in six languages. She is in the process of learning her seventh, Afrikaans.


  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship
  • Fulbright-Hays GPA Fellowship
  • Boston University Teaching Fellowship
  • NSEP Boren Fellowship
  • Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship