Fran Lisa Buntman

Region of Interest


Primary Country of Residence

United States of America


Assistant Professor


George Washington University, Washington DC


Mailing Address

Department of Sociology
George Washington University
801 22nd St NW, #409
Washington DC 20052


Countries of Specialization

South Africa,

Research Interests

My core interests are the nature and exercise of power and resistance
which I explore in a number of substantive areas. My forthcoming book on
Robben Island prison (Cambridge University Press, 2003) explores political
prisoner resistance under apartheid as well as its influence on the
apartheid state and anti-apartheid political movements.

I also work on race, law and constitutionalism, and social and political
change. My next project focuses on definitions and understanding of crime,
politics, and violence to examine how groups and states marshal law,
violence, and ideology to justify and/or challenge political and criminal
terror. One aspect of that study is a comparative analysis of Zimbabwe's
and South Africa's legal and discursive constructions of terrorism.

Teaching Interests

Professor Fran Buntman’s primary teaching and research interests focus on prisons and other institutions of punishment and ‘correction’, law and power, and inequality, especially in the United States and South Africa. She is interested both in open and hidden expressions of power and resistance, and how social institutions tell us a great deal about our social values and commitments. Her teaching, research, and writing seek to integrate and facilitate inter-disciplinary dialogue between and among theory and practice, scholarly contribution and civic involvement, global and local realities.


Robben Island Prison and the Struggle Against Apartheid. Cambridge University Press. 2003.

Journal Articles, Chapters, and Research Report
Eglitis, D., Buntman, F., & Alexander, D. (2016). Social Issues and Problem-based Learning in Sociology: Opportunities and Challenges in the Undergraduate Classroom. Teaching Sociology, 44(3), 212-220.

Buntman, F., & Muntingh, L. (2013). "Supermaximum prisons in South Africa." In J. Ross (Ed.), The Globalization of Supermax Prisons (pp. 80-94). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Buntman, F. (2011). "Therapeutic jurisprudence, apartheid’s victims, and the South African Truth and Reconciliation" [Commission]. In E. Erez, M. Kilchling, & J. Wemmers (Eds.), Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Victim Participation in Justice: International Perspectives (pp. 169-206). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Buntman, F., & Buntman, B. (2010). "‘Old synagogue’ and apartheid court: Constructing a South African heritage site." South African Historical Journal, 62(1), 183-201.

Buntman, F. (2009). "Prison and democracy: Lessons learned, and not learned, from 1989 to 2009." Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 22(3), 401-418.

Buntman, F., & Snyman, R. (2003). "Policing in a diverse and multi-cultural society: The South African case." Journal of Police & Society. An Interdisciplinary Israeli Journal of Law Enforcement and Criminology, 7, 197-230. Also published online by the National Institute of Justice.

Buntman, F. (2001). "Race, reputation, and the Supreme Court: Valuing blackness and whiteness." University of Miami Law Review, 56(1), 1-24.

"The Role of Political Imprisonment in Developing and Enhancing Political Leadership: A Comparative Study of South Africa's and Taiwan's Democratization." Journal of Asian and African Studies 35, no. 1 (2000):43-66. (With Tong-yi Huang.) Also reprinted: In Taiwan in Perspective, Wei-chin Lee ed.. Leiden: The Netherlands: Brill Publishers, 2000.

"Categorical and Strategic Resistance and the Making of Political Prisoner Identity in Apartheid's Robben Island Prison." Social Identities 4, no. 3
(1998): 417-440. Also to be reprinted in After Apartheid: Social Identities in the New South Africa, ed. Abebe Zegeye. Ashgate: Forthcoming

"South Africa's First Democratic Elections and their Political Context." In Multiparty Democracy and Political Change: Constraints to
Democratization in Africa, ed. John Mukum Mbaku and Julius O. Ihonvbere. Brookfield, Vermont and Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1998.

"Resistance on Robben Island 1963-1976" and "How Best to Resist? Robben Island after 1976." In The Island: A History of Robben Island , ed.
Harriet Deacon. Cape Town: David Philip, 1996.

"Denis Goldberg," "Maxine Hart," "Albie Sachs," "Shawn Slovo," and "Raymond Suttner." [In-depth interviews with four prominent former
political prisoners and the family member of a deceased fifth.] In Cutting though the Mountain, ed. Immanuel Suttner. London and Johannesburg:
Penguin, 1997.

"The Limousine Lizard and the Taxi Proletariat: The Business Sector's
Involvement in Public Policy Change 1985-1989." In Policy Perspectives
1989: South Africa at the End of the Eighties. Johannesburg: Centre for
Policy Studies, 1989. (With Robin Lee.)

"Shopping for War: an analysis of consumerist militarism." In War and
Society: The Militarization of South Africa, (ed.) Cock, Jacklyn and
Nathan, Laurie. Cape Town: David Philip, 1989. (With Karen Jochelson.)

The Future of the Nonprofit Voluntary Sector in South Africa. Research
Report Five, Centre for Policy Studies, Johannesburg, 1988. (With Robin

Newspaper Articles/Op-eds

"From Soweto to Stoneman Douglas: The power of youth protest." The Baltimore Sun. March 24, 2018.

"Jews must fight Israeli atrocities." The Baltimore Sun, April 21, 2002.

"While praising de Klerk's courage, we must question, as well." The
Beacon Journal, October 20, 1999.

"Hell hole where the human spirit triumphed." The Sunday Times , September
21, 1997.

Support for Inkatha is wrong approach to South Africa's problems" [Reply
to W. Buckley's "De Klerk's payments to Inkatha defensible"].
Austin-American Statesman, August 2, 1991. (With Jeanne-Marie Velickovic)

"Does the Jewish Nat betray his [her] roots?" Weekly Mail , October 27,


Inequality, law, power, prisons, punishment, race, resistance, social change, South Africa