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.
Charne Lavery is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria and researcher at WISER, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. She explores literary and cultural representations of the deep ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Southern Ocean and Antarctic seas, researching oceanic underworlds of the global South from a postcolonial-ecological perspective. She is co-editor of the Palgrave series Maritime Literature and Culture, a South African Humanities and Social Sciences delegate to the international Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), and has recently published ‘Antarctica and Africa’, 'Thinking from the Southern Ocean' and 'Diving into the Slave Wreck'.
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.
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.
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.
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. Her publications include a special issue of Nouvelles Etudes Francophones on "La littérature indocéane" (2017) and Mapping ocean-state Mauritius and its unlaid ghosts: Hydropolitics and literature in the Indian Ocean, Cultural Dynamics. 2020, Vol 32 (1-2), 117-131.
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.
Melody Jue is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and works across the fields of ocean humanities, science fiction, STS, and media theory. Drawing on the experience of becoming a scuba diver, her book Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater (Duke University Press, 2020) develops a theory of mediation specific to the ocean environment. She is the co-editor with Rafico Ruiz of Saturation: An Elemental Politics (Duke Press, 2021) and co-editor with Zach Blas and Jennifer Rhee of Informatics of Domination (Duke Press, under contract). She has published articles in journals including Grey Room, Configurations, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Resilience, and Animations: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her new work explores the media of seaweeds in relation to photography, experimentation, and ecological infrastructure.
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.
Dr. Joshua Bennett is the Mellon Assistant Professor fo English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth. He is the author The Sobbing School (Penguin, 2016)—which was a winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award—Owned (Penguin, 2020), and Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and End of Man (Harvard University Press, 2020), which was a winner of the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize.
Bennett earned his PhD in English from Princeton University, and an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick, Where he was a Marshall Scholar. His first work of narrative nonfiction, Spoken Word: A Cultural History, is forthcoming from Knopf.
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 candidate at WiSER and the Wits schools of Arts. She completed a BA in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management at Eduardo Mondlane University. Her research project is titled ‘Saving or selling underwater heritage? The role and impact of treasure hunting on the Island of Mozambique'. It looks at how the large-scale treasure hunting company (Arqueonautas) operated at Mozambique Island versus the national and international law of protection of underwater heritage. It focuses on indigenous perspectives and argues for the inclusion of the voices of all who live and work by the sea in underwater heritage management. 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 the representation of water spirits in Southern Africa, calling attention to how contemporary artists imaginatively engage with water, both in its presence and absence using both literary and visual narratives from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola 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 completed her MA in the arts at Wits university and makes research and experimentally driven pieces that move through curation, visual and sonic arts. Her research project develops ways of practicing oceanically by engaging with the elements and actions of the ocean. Her research combines this with lived experiences of being out at sea, focusing on amphibiousness, voids and multiple temporalities that are brought into question through the loss of radio signal. She is a member of the Africa Nosy Art Echange, a collective that organises gatherings for artists in the islands and continents near to Madagascar.
Ryan Poinasamy is a PhD student at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. He completed his MA in African Literature at the University of Witwatersrand, his research project was titled 'The Submarine World of Abalone'. His current research will think with the islands of Mauritius, rising sea levels, and the ways islanders have had to deal with natural disasters, such as cyclones, water shortages, and recently oil spills. His thesis is tentatively titled 'Sinking as Origin'.
Mapule Mohulatsi is a PhD candidate in the African Literature department at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is a fellow for the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South project based at WiSER. In her research she works with racial interspecies histories, recipes, as well as the black radical tradition's relationship with the deep ocean.
Luck Makuyana is an MA candidate at WiSER and the Department of African Literature. He completed a BA Honours in English Literature at the University of Zimbabwe and a BA Honours in English at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research project draws on the rich possibilities of a hydro-colonial analysis (following Isabel Hofmeyr that reads for water and wrests Southern African literary historiesaway from almost exclusively land-based narratives. The research explores representation of Tonga people, Nyami-Nyami and Zambezi River in literary texts and audio-visual documentaries of the Kariba Dam. The title of his research project is 'Hydrocolonialism: A Hydro-critical Reading of Tonga People, Nyami-Nyami and Zambezi in Chosen Rhodesian/Zimbabwean Texts'. His other research interests are in Southern African literature.
Rabia is an MA in Heritage Studies student at the Wits School of Art. She completed her Honours in History, cum laude, at Stellenbosch University as part of the 'Biography of an Uncharted People' project. Her research interests fall within Ocean and Memory studies and Archive theory. She is currently working on her Research Report which is a dive into the 'Unshackled History: The Wreck of the Slave Ship São José, 1794’ exhibition at the Slave Lodge in Cape Town. She is also an alumni of the UnSchool of Disruptive Design's Emerging Leaders Fellowship and the Accountability Lab's Non-Profit Management Fellowship.
Oupa Sibeko graduated as a 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.
Zoe Neocosmos was 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.