Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor of African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. She has worked extensively on the Indian Ocean world and oceanic themes more generally. Recent publications include Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading (2013) and a special issue of Comparative Literature (2016) on 'Oceanic Routes' co-edited with Kerry Bystrom.
PHINDEZWA (PHINDI) MNYAKA
Phindezwa (Phindi) Mnyaka is a senior lecturer in the History Department at the University of the Western Cape where she teaches courses in African history. She has previously taught art history and visual culture at Rhodes University and also held a Dulcie September Research Fellowship at the University of the Western Cape. She received her doctorate from the University of Fort Hare, which paid attention to mid-20th century photography in Africa. Her current research interests include visuality and experimental history writing.
Rimli Bhattacharya teaches at the University of Delhi. She is the author of Binodini Dasi: ‘My Story’ & ‘My Life as an Actress’ (1998); Public Women in British India: Icons on the Urban Stage (2018) and co-author of Sur Pippa: ‘Notes on Running Feet’ (2012). Her forthcoming works include The Dancing Poet: Rabindranath Tagore and Choreographies of Participation and Children’s Literature in India: Many Tongues, Many Realities.
Euclides Gonçalves is a researcher and director at Kaleidoscopio: Research in Public Policy and Culture, in Mozambique, as well as a research associate at WiSER in South Africa. His ethnographic research examines public encounters with bureaucratic power through the analysis of the performativity of documents. Currently, he is also coordinating a cultural heritage project that explores the meanings of memory associated with the Indian Ocean and the slave trade.
Charne Lavery is a researcher based at WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand. She completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford, and has worked as a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Cape Town. Her research is in oceanic literary studies, particularly literary and cultural representations of the Indian, Southern and deep oceans.
Jonathan Cane is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Ocean Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand. He received his Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town and his PhD in Art History from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the author of Civilising Grass: The Art of the Lawn on the South African Highveld (2019). His research interests are landscape art, architectural modernism, postcolonialism and urban queer studies.
Alan Cobley is Professor of South African and Comparative History at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, and he currently serves also as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Studies. He is the author or editor of eleven books as well as numerous articles and book chapters on aspects of South African and Caribbean history.
Lakshmi Subramanian is retired Professor of History at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences (CSSS) in Calcutta and Associate Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Nantes, France. Recent books include The Sovereign and the Pirate: Ordering Maritime Subjects in India’s Western Littoral (2016) and Three Merchants of Bombay (2012).
Mona Webber is Professor of Marine Biology and James S. Moss Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management at the University of the West Indies (Mona campus), as well as the Director of the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory. Her current research projects range from Mangrove rehabilitation, coral reef nursery propagation, seagrass assessments, water quality and microplastics in a eutrophic harbour (Kingston Harbour), and ichthyoplankton and fish biomass as indicators of success in Special Fishery Conservation Areas.
Lindsay Bremner is an architect and scholar who began her academic and professional life in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she published, lectured and exhibited widely on the transformation of Johannesburg after apartheid. She taught architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, at Temple University in Philadelphia, and at MIT as a visiting professor, before taking up her current post at the University of Westminster in London. She currently runs Monsoon Assemblages, a design-led research project funded by the European Research Council, into the monsoon in three Bay of Bengal cities – Chennai, Dhaka and Yangon.
Sharad Chari is a geographer at Berkeley. He has worked across geography, anthropology and history at Michigan, LSE, the University of the Witwatersrand and Berkeley, most recently on geo-graphy or earthly/oceanic writing. He is finishing a monograph called Apartheid Remains on the remains of 20th century segregation and struggle as witnessed from neighbourhoods adjacent to oil refineries in South Durban, and is also working on a new project on oceanic re-figurations of land-labor-capital in the southern African Indian Ocean.
Yvette Christiansë is Ann Whitney Olin Foundation Chair of Africana Studies and Professor of English Literature at Barnard College in New York. She is the author of Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics (2013), as well as an award winning poet, novelist, and librettist. Her collections include Imprendehora
(2009) and Castaway (1999). Her acclaimed first novel, Unconfessed, was published in the United States, South Africa, and The Netherlands (2007).
Margaret Cohen is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature and Civilization at Stanford University, where she is jointly appointed in Comparative Literature and English. Throughout her career, Professor Cohen has explored the literature and culture of modernity. In her most recent book, The Novel and the Sea (2010), she revealed the impact of the ship’s log and the history of writing about work at sea on the development of the modern novel. She is currently completing a book on the history of underwater film, examining how the modern imagination of the depths has been shaped by science and technology enabling people to view a hitherto inaccessible realm as well as to exhibit its conditions on land.
Vilashini Cooppan is Associate Professor of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her interests include postcolonial studies; comparative and world literature; literatures of slavery and diaspora; globalization studies; cultural theory of race and ethnicity.
Elizabeth DeLoughrey is a Professor in the English Department and at the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work has long engaged with concepts of the oceanic (or blue) humanities, tidalectics (Kamau Brathwaite), and 'a sea of islands' (Epeli Hau`ofa). She is the author of Routes and Roots: Navigating Caribbean and Pacific Island Literatures (2007), a book that is organized around the land-sea 'tidalectic,' and more recently has written about 'sea ontologies' as well as a new oceanic turn for the 21st century ('Submarine Futures of the Anthropocene,' 2017).
Alexandra Ganser is Professor of American Literary and Cultural Studies and Executive Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies (ZKS) at the University of Vienna. Her research interests include mobility studies, popular culture, gender studies, transatlantic American studies, and ecocriticism. Her publications include Pirates, Drifters, Fugitives: Figures of Mobility in American Culture and Beyond (ed. with Heike Paul & Katharina Gerund, 2012), while her current book project examines transatlantic representations of piracy before the Civil War and is titled Crisis and Discourses of (Il)Legitimacy in Transatlantic Narratives of Piracy, 1678-1865 (forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan).
Lesley Green is director of Environmental Humanities South, and Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her work focuses on the intersection of science studies, anthropology and philosophy in the anthropocene, and her current research work spans fisheries, energy policy, and ecological modelling. Her new book Rock, Water, Life: Science, Environmentalism and Decoloniality in South Africa is coming out in 2018.
Ashleigh Harris is Associate Professor at the Department of English, Uppsala University. She is currently working on a monograph on sub-Saharan African novels of the 2000s, which focuses on how economic, environmental and epidemic forces are shaping the novel’s aesthetics, form and function on the African continent today. Harris is primary investigator in the research project ‘African Street Literatures and the Future of Literary Form’ (2017-2020), financed by the Swedish Research Council.
Simone Haysom is a writer and a Senior Analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, where she researches the political economy of illicit trade and organised crime along the African Indian Ocean coast. Her first work of creative nonfiction, The Last Words of Rowan du Preez: Murder and Conspiracy on the Cape Flats, was published in 2018. Her current research attempts to develop a historical understanding of how ‘underworlds’ have shaped democracy in Southern and East Africa, with a particular focus on the role of ports in organised crime.
Kumari Issur is Associate Professor at the University of Mauritius, where she has been a member of the department of French Studies since 1994. Her PhD from Université Paris 13 was in Francophone Literatures of the Creole Islands of the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. She is co-founder and co-coordinator (with Farhad Khoyratty) of ReGIOSH (Research Group for IndianOceanic Studies in the Humanities). In 2017, she was awarded the prestigious Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Government. Her current research focuses on ecocriticism and Indian Ocean Studies.
Saarah Jappie is a scholar of cultural history in the Indian Ocean world, with a specific interest in written culture, memory and sacred space in both Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. She holds a Bachelor of International Studies (Honours) in Indonesian Studies and French from the University of New South Wales (2008), a Master of Arts in Historical Studies from the University of Cape Town (2011) and a PhD in History from Princeton University (2018). Saarah is currently Lecturer in the History Department at the University of the Witwatersrand and working on two book projects: one looking at the Islamic manuscript tradition of Cape Town and the other exploring the cultural afterlives of transoceanic exile between Indonesia and South Africa.
Stephanie Jones is Associate Professor in English at the University of Southampton. She works on texts about the Indian Ocean, and within the inter-discipline of law and literature. Her publications include papers on poetry, human rights, and imperial law; the politics of marine metaphors; the poetics of maritime law; fictional and historical piracy and privateering; literary and legal belonging; and East African and South Asian literatures. She is currently writing a book about pirates.
Farhad A. K. Sulliman Khoyratty is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Coordinator of the Research Group for Indian Oceanic Studies in the Humanities (REGIOSH) at the University of Mauritius. His publications range from phenomenology to 18th-century literature, from film to ecocriticism. He has been a member (since August 2008) of Ratnakara Indian Ocean Literatures and Cultures (under the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Spain) and an active member of three financed research projects.
Bénédicte Letellier is Associate Professor in Comparative Literature at the University of La Réunion since 2008. Her research is mainly devoted to the comparative study of Arabic, European and, more recently, Indian Ocean literatures. Since 2016 she is series editor-in-chief of Non Western Literatures at the Editions Connaissances et Savoirs. Her publications include Thinking the Fantastic in an Arab Context (2010) and a French translation of an essay written by the Arab poet Adonis, Al-Sufiyya wa al-suryaliya (Soufisme et surréalisme, 2016).
Suvendrini Perera is John Curtin Distinguished Research Professor in Cultural Studies and Deputy Director of the Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute at Curtin University, Australia. She has published widely on issues of social justice, including decolonization, race, ethnicity and multiculturalism, refugee topics, critical whiteness studies and Asian-Australian studies. She is the author/editor of seven books, including Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats and Bodies (2009) and Survival Media: The Politics and Poetics of Mobility and the War in Sri Lanka (2015).
Killian Quigley is postdoctoral fellow at the Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney. His recent research has focused on poetic and aesthetic histories—and futures—of oceans, seascape, and the undersea. He is the author of The Myriad Sea: Submarine Poetics (under review) and co-editor, with Margaret Cohen, of The Aesthetics of the Undersea (Routledge, 2019). His writing is also available or forthcoming from Eighteenth-Century Studies, A Cultural History of the Sea in the Age of Enlightenment, The Eighteenth Century, and elsewhere.
Meg Samuelson joined the Department of English & Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide as a lecturer in 2017, after having held positions as an associate professor at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Samuelson has published widely in South Africa and southern African literary and cultural studies. Samuelson’s current research and teaching interests include Anthropocene thought, coastal and maritime literary and cultural studies, critical theory and literary debates, Indian Ocean studies, the southern hemisphere, world literatures and women's writing.
Tina Steiner is Associate Professor in the English Department at Stellenbosch University. She is the author of Translated People, Translated Texts: Language and Migration in Contemporary African Literature (2009) and co-edited the special issue ‘Critical Perspectives on Abdulrazak Gurnah’ of the journal English Studies in Africa. Her research areas comprise eastern and southern African Literature, Indian Ocean studies and Migration studies, and she is currently working on a book on narratives of eastern and southern African cosmopolitanisms in the Indian Ocean world.
Lindy Stiebel is Professor Emerita of English Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Visiting Professor at CISA (Centre for the Study of India in Africa), University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests are linked by a profound interest in the relationship between writers and place: these include the South African colonial and post-colonial novel; Indian Ocean studies particularly literary interconnections between South Africa, India and Mauritius; and literary tourism. Her latest books are Writing Home: Lewis Nkosi on South African Literature (with Michael Chapman, 2016), Cities in Flux: metropolitan spaces in South African literary and visual texts. Swiss South African Joint Research Programme. (with Alan Muller, Olivier Moreillon, 2017) and A Literary Guide to KwaZulu-Natal (with Niall McNulty, 2017).
Hedley Twidle is a writer, teacher and scholar based at the University of Cape Town. His collection of essays and creative non-fiction, Firepool: Experiences in an Abnormal World, was published in 2017 by Kwela Books. His next book, Experiments With Truth: Narrative Non-fiction and the Coming of Democracy in South Africa, will appear in 2019. Over the last few years, he has been involved in the launch of a new interdisciplinary M Phil at the University of Cape Town, Environmental Humanities South, which launched in 2015.
Jauquelyne Kosgei is a PhD candidate in the Department of English Studies at Stellenbosch University. She completed her MA in Literature at the University of Nairobi, Kenya in 2017. Her doctoral project is titled 'Imaginaries of Oceanic Histories in Oral and Written Texts from the Kenyan Coast.' It analyses both oral and written literature from and about the Kenyan coast, to reflect on the varying imaginaries of the Indian Ocean within these two distinct literary genres. It focuses on reviving indigenous knowledges and argues for the inclusion of oral sources in mainstream discourse. These include oral testimonies by seafarers – engaging with the undersea and sea spirits – which form experiential cartographic devices of the Indian Ocean.
Anézia António Asse is an MA student at WiSER and the Wits School of Arts. She completed a BA in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management at Eduardo Mondlane University. Her research project is provisionally titled 'The Statue of the Snake Woman: Interpreting an Urban Fallism in a WWI Memorial in Maputo City'. In 2015 and 2017 she was a member of the Slave Wreck Project network and contributed to the documentation of the underwater cultural heritage at Mozambique Island. She is also the author of the current underwater cultural heritage management plan for Mozambique Island.
Confidence Joseph is a PhD student at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. She completed her MA in African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her research project is on hydrocolonialisms, calling attention to how contemporary artists imaginatively engage with both the surface and the 'seaness' of the sea using both literary and visual narratives from South Africa and Mozambique. The title of her thesis is: 'Of Snakes and Mermaids: The Representation of Watergods in Southern African Literature'. Her other research interests are in colonial and postcolonial Zimbabwean literature and gender studies.
Meghan Judge is a PhD student at WiSER and the Department of Fine Arts at WITS University. She practices as a visual/sonic artist and a researcher working in the African and Asian regions. She is a founding member of the Africa Nosy(Island) Art Echange, a collaborative artist exchange network operating within continental Africa and the Indian Ocean, a founder of Hetsika: Virtual Winds, an online arts residency, and an advisor for the annual Festival d’Art Urbain in Madagascar. Her research explores creative methodologies and social narratives that challenge power in the archives.
Zoe Neocosmos is an MA student at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. She completed a BA in English Literary studies and Classical Civilization at Rhodes University. Her Honours research project was titled 'Silence, Ecological, Sacred in Unconfessed', and she is also interested in transnational literary studies, spoken word and classical studies, specifically mythology.
Mapule Mohulatsi is an MA student at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. She completed a BA in African Literature and Publishing at the University of the Witwatersrand. The title of her dissertation is: 'Black Aesthetics and the Deep Ocean: Archive or Rubbish Dump?'; she also otherwise dabbles in short story writing, freelancing in the publishing world as well as locating second-hand bookstores.
Ryan Poinasamy is an MA student at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. He completed a BA in English at the University of Mauritius, his research project was titled 'Recognising LGBTQ+ Faces within the Mauritian Nation State through Queer Utopianism on Grindr' . His interests include popular culture, gender and sexuality studies, as well as global human rights issues.
Oupa Sibeko is an MA student at WiSER and Wits School of Arts, Division of Fine Arts focusing on oceanic humanities; mainly on the practice of bottling sea water in black South African culture, the use of sea water in art-making and the different ways of knowing sea water. He holds a BA Performing and Visual Arts, Honours African Literature and Creative Writing, Sibeko is a performance artist, theatre-maker and writer. He was awarded a Richard Haines all-round performer award by the Wits University Humanities Faculty 2014. He has taken part in group shows at the National Art Gallery of Namibia, IVAHM Spain, Artist Proof Studios, JMAC Gallery, Room Gallery, Wits Art Museum, The Freezer Hostel and Theatre in Iceland and Greatmore Studios in Cape Town.