Carien Smith

Department of Philosophy

PhD Student

Graduate Teaching Assistant


Full contact details

Carien Smith
Department of Philosophy
45 Victoria Street
S3 7QB

Carien Smith is a South African writer and academic, currently a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield. She has contract lectured philosophy at the University of Fort Hare and University of Johannesburg. She is now a Teaching Assistant at the Philosophy Department at the University of Sheffield. In her creative work she mainly works in the genre of short fiction (forthcoming book: Tafelberg Uitgewers/Publishers, 2022). In her academic work, she works on the epistemology and morality of belief, specifically  conspiracy theory beliefs. Is it possible to say that some beliefs are morally bad? And how is it possible to draw the connection between the epistemic and moral? Her other research interests include climate change ethics, meaning in life, and the apocalypse. She is also interested in how catastrophe is portrayed in fictional works and what impact this has on our responses to catastrophes we face now, such as climate change. These research questions and topics are very closely related to her own fictional work. She completed her Master’s Degree in Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg (under the supervision of Thaddeus Metz), and her Honours (Afrikaans Literature) and BA Degrees at the University of Fort Hare (all Cum Laude).


MA in Philosophy, University of Johannesburg, 

Honours Degree, University of Fort Hare

BA Degree, University of Fort Hare

Research interests

Carien works on the epistemology and morality of belief, specifically conspiracy theory beliefs in climate change. Her other research interests include climate change ethics, meaning in life, and the apocalypse. She is also interested in how catastrophe is portrayed in fictional works and what impact this has on our responses to catastrophes we face now, such as climate change. These research questions and topics are very closely related to her own fictional work.


2022. Bot. Cape Town: Tafelberg Publishers.

2018. An ecocritical-philosophical perspective on the short story “Katvoet” (Rianna Scheepers): the human and nature, Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe/Journal of Humanities 58(2):310-329. Scopus-, ISI-, SciELO, and DoHET--accredited. ISSN 0041-4751.

2016. The woman, pregnancy, and the animal in the short story “Katvoet” by Riana Scheepers: a phenomenological study, LitNet Akademies/LitNet Academic 13(2):227-
252. ISSN 1995-5928. DoHET-accredited. fenomenologiese-ondersoek/

2016. Bakhtin’s carnivalesque, materialism and the identity formation of the other: an investigation of Jeanne Goosen’s “Lenie”, Stilet 28(2):95-110. ISSN 1013-4573.

Research group

Paul Faulkner
Megan Blomfield
James Lenman

  • University of Sheffield Humanities Research Scholarship
  • Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study Writing Fellowship (2020)
  • Dean’s Award Top Achiever Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg
  • Global Excellence and Stature Scholarship (University of Johannesburg)
  • Vice-chancellor’s Excellence Award: Best Undergraduate Student in Faculty of
  • Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award, 2019
  • PEN International New Voices Award Long Listee, 2015
Teaching activities

Previous Lecturing:

2021. University of Fort Hare. Theories of Human Nature. Second year module. Lecture topics: (1) Existentialism; (2) Feminism; (3) Black consciousness and African
conceptions of human nature.

2021. University of Fort Hare. Classical Problems in Philosophy. First year module. Lecture topics: (1) Ancient Egyptian philosophy (2) Ancient Greek philosophers–
Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, (3) Islamic translators, (4) philosophical writing methodology.

2019. University of Johannesburg. Ethics for Engineering. Third year module. CPS3A01. Lecture topics: (1) Environmental Ethics and Engineering; (2) Responsibility in Engineering; (3) Engineering and Deontology, Virtue Ethics, Consequentialism; (4) Trust and Reliability in Engineering, (5) Engineering Ethics as Professional Ethics.

Previous Tutoring:

2018. University of Johannesburg. Tutor. Courses tutored: Kantian Philosophy for Second Years, African Philosophy for Second Years, Epistemology and Metaphysics
for Second Years.

2017. University of Johannesburg. Tutor. Courses tutored: Engineering Ethics (CPS3A01), Aesthetics for Engineers (CPSA02), Accountancy Ethics (ADIA005).

2014-2015. University of Fort Hare, Department of Philosophy. Tutor. Courses tutored: Introduction to Philosophy (PHL 111E), Classical Problems in Philosophy
(PHL 126E).