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Neelika Jayawardane

Associate Professor


Contact
304B Marano Campus Center
315.312.2604
neelika.jayawardane@oswego.edu

Website

Class website

Office hours

Fall 2016
Tuesday and Thursday 12:45-2:00 pm 
or by timely appointment
Email professor 24hr. in advance.

M. Neelika Jayawardane is Associate Professor of English at the State University of New York-Oswego, and senior editor and contributor to the online magazine, Africa is a Country. She is an Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa).  

Jayawardane was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in the Copperbelt Province in Zambia, and completed her university education in the US. Her academic publications focus on the nexus between South African literature, photography, and the transnational/transhistorical implications of colonialism and apartheid on the body. Her most recent publications include "'Forget Maps': Countering Global Apartheid, Creating Novel Cartographies in Ishtiyaq Shukri's The Silent Minaret" in Research in African Literatures (2013) and a book chapter, "'Scandalous Memoir': Uncovering Silences and Reclaiming the 'Disappeared' in Mahvish Rukhsana Kahn's My Guantánamo Diary" in Transatlantic Literature and Culture After 9/11: The Wrong Side of Paradise (Palgrave McMillan, 2014). She also publishes regularly on photography and art, the most recent of which includes an essay on apartheid-era photography exhibit at the International Center for Photography in Manhattan in Art South Africa; "Cartography without Frontiers: The Body, the Border, and the Desert in Sama Alshaibi's Artwork" in Contemporary Practices: Visual Art from the Middle East; and "Everyone's Got Their Indian: A Photographic History of South Africa's Asians" in Transitions.  

Publications

'Scandalous Memoir': Uncovering Silences and Reclaiming the 'Disappeared' in Mahvish Rukhsana Kahn's My Guantánamo Diary."Transatlantic Literature and Culture After 9/11: The Wrong Side of Paradise ed. Kristine A. Miller. Palgrave McMillan, 2014. (Book Chapter)

'Forget Maps': Countering Global Apartheid, Creating Novel Cartographies in Ishtiyaq Shukri's 
The Silent Minaret" Research in African Literatures. Volume 45, Number 1, Spring 2014, pp. 1-23.  

Conferences

  • November 2014: National Women's Studies Association Conference. Panel: "Violent Geographies: Transnational Representations of Gender, War, and Resistance". Paper: "Re-Telling the Nation: Dangerous Disclosures in South African Women's Memoirs". San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  • November 2014: 57thAnnual African Studies Association Conference. Panel (Chair): "Winnie Madikizela Mandela: Reflections on the Mother of the Nation". Paper: "Winnie and the Camera: Fashioning an Impenetrable Armature." Indianapolis, Indiana.

  • March 2014: American Comparative Literature Association Conference. Panel: "The Comic Mask: Theorizing Satire, Humor and Laughter in South African Culture". Paper: "Untranslatable Caricatures: South Africa's Cartoonists' Reliance on Racist Tropes."

  • January 2014: 129th MLA Annual Convention, Chicago, 5-8 January 2014.

    (a) Panel: "Space and Belonging in Post-9/11 US American Literature": "'Scandalous Memoir': Uncovering Silences and Reclaiming the Disappeared in Mahvish Rukhsana Kahn's My Guantánamo Diary."

    (b) Panel: "Expatriation, Authorship, and Reception in African Literatures": "Relocating the Expatriated Self in the 'New' South Africa: Memoirs of Indian South Africans."

  • March 2013: Organised and Chaired Panel: "Re-Inscribing the Self: Memoirs, Self-Narrative, Testimony and Contemporary African Writers." Literature, Liberation, and the Law: The 39th annual conference of the African Literature Association (Charleston, South Carolina)

  • Jan. 2013: "Meditation on the Terrorist: Daisy Rockwell's The Little Book of Terror." 128th MLA Annual Convention, Boston, Massachusetts, 5-8 January 2013. Panel: Human Rights in U.S. Literature and Beyond. 

Classes taught

Fall 2016 Courses

ENG 323/800
ENG 523/800

TR 9:35-10:55 323 Marano CC
ENG 360/810 TR 11:10-12:30 323 Marano CC
ENG 465/830 TR 2:20-3:40 208 Marano CC

ENG 323/800-When you imagine a picture of what’s British, don’t you immediately think Dowton Abbey, the Queen, jam, tea, and scones? Similarly, when we think of British literature, we immediately think of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. However, in the twentieth century, what constitutes Britain and British literature has changed as much as America and American literature…it is only our fantasy of Britain that hasn’t changed. In this class, we will examine the ways in which Diasporic people, such as Caribbean and Indian immigrants who arrived in Britain after WWI and WWII questioned, challenged, and remade what we think of as British identity. The authors we will read are the embodiment of the “global transnational”: they are at home in Britain – and at times, deeply embedded in “English” culture – but they are also able to see through the false constructions behind Englishness, precisely because of their outsider/Other status in the island. Through their writing, we will look at how literature and storytelling has become an intrinsic part of refashioning what is “British”. In order to better understand the literature, we will also tackle a number of themes and issues including: patterns of migration, representations of identity and difference, “ethnic” cultural production, diasporic youth cultures, gendered dimensions of race-relations, relationship between class and race, and state policies in twentieth century Britain. 

ENG 360/810-Typically when we speak of literature, we speak of ‘national’ literatures like British, American, or French literature, or of broader regional entities like ‘Western’ literature or ‘Latin American’ literature. But there have also been attempts to think of literature in a global setting – as travellers and migrants, taking ideas, goods, customs, reading habits with them as they move from continent to continent. Thinking globally has become only more urgent with the increasing technological advances of this century. And being critical readers, thinkers, and writers in this competitive new world of fast-moving Netizens is essential to being a successful and dynamic graduate, no matter where your degree will take you. The purpose of this course is to help students become more globally-aware by exploring a selection of contemporary literature—novels and memoirs different from the ‘classics’ to which you may have been previously exposed—helping us understand the individual’s role in rapidly evolving societies and landscapes. The novels and memoirs we read in this class will help us become critical thinkers and help us understand the individual’s role in society. We will read also learn how to respond to though our own informed, well-designed, and well-researched writing.

Assignments will include the use of literary discussion to structure well-reasoned arguments, using standard English grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure in order to write excellent analytical papers. It’s not a course designed to teach you basic grammar and mechanics. I’m so aware of the competition you will be up against from students in other parts of the world that I can’t permit the usual whining and the regular rounds of excuses. Arrive with a strong work ethic and respect for the education for which you are paying—think of the class as a job, and preparation for the working world.

ENG 465/830-Many of you may have never read a book by an African author. Don’t be afraid. The books we read in this course are going to surprise you in terms of subject matter, style, and poetic language. Together, we will develop a greater appreciation of cultural, thematic, and aesthetic differences in contemporary African Literature. We will begin by discussing how themes addressed and styles of writing used differ markedly from that of the writers from the early 1960s, when many African Writers wrote polemically against the abuses of their colonial powers, and responded to the transformations and disappointments that came with political independence.

The works we study will be by authors who were born in Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa, but all of them are what theorists call “transnationals”: feet in a couple of countries, arms embracing many cultures, and eyes looking towards philosophers and thinkers from their own countries of birth, other African nations, and from South Asia, Europe, and the Americas. England remains a symbol of power (as a former coloniser), and America is an elusive, but very real source of inspiration and delight. We will explore the issues that preoccupy the characters in each text, understanding the world in the book as a reflection of real life in the contexts that they are written. How do these writers use English, and appropriate ‘Western’ literary conventions—do they even see these devices of language as ‘Western’ or do they simply see it as part of their repertoire, as part of being modern? As with any advanced literary study, we will read critical and analytical papers about each author’s works to help contextualise our reading; these papers will, in turn, help you as you write your research paper.

ENG 523/800-When you imagine a picture of what’s British, don’t you immediately think Dowton Abbey, the Queen, jam, tea, and scones? Similarly, when we think of British literature, we immediately think of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. However, in the twentieth century, what constitutes Britain and British literature has changed as much as America and American literature…it is only our fantasy of Britain that hasn’t changed. In this class, we will examine the ways in which Diasporic people, such as Caribbean and Indian immigrants who arrived in Britain after WWI and WWII questioned, challenged, and remade what we think of as British identity. The authors we will read are the embodiment of the “global transnational”: they are at home in Britain – and at times, deeply embedded in “English” culture – but they are also able to see through the false constructions behind Englishness, precisely because of their outsider/Other status in the island. Through their writing, we will look at how literature and storytelling has become an intrinsic part of refashioning what is “British”. In order to better understand the literature, we will also tackle a number of themes and issues including: patterns of migration, representations of identity and difference, “ethnic” cultural production, diasporic youth cultures, gendered dimensions of race-relations, relationship between class and race, and state policies in twentieth century Britain.