Neelika Jayawardane

Associate Professor


Contact

307 Marano Campus Center
315.312.2604
neelika.jayawardane@oswego.edu

Website

Class website

Office hours

Fall 2019
Monday and Wednesday
1:45 - 2:45
or by appointment

Neelika Jayawardane

M. Neelika Jayawardane is Associate Professor of English at the State University of New York-Oswego, and a Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD), University of Johannesburg (South Africa). She is a recipient of the 2018 Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for a book project on the Afrapix, a South African photographers’ agency that operated during the last decade of apartheid. Jayawardane was born in Sri Lanka, raised in Zambia, and completed her university education in the US, where she currently works. Her research is concentrated on South Africa, and her scholarly publications focus on the nexus between written texts, visual art, photography, and the transnational/transhistorical implications of colonialism, ongoing forms of discrimination, displacement, and migration on individuals and communities. As a founding member of the digital project, Africa is a Country, she became increasingly interested in writing in a manner that is accessible and welcoming to a larger public. Along with academic publications, and catalogue essays for exhibitions and artists’ books, her writing is featured in Al Jazeera EnglishTransitionAperturefrieze, C&, Even MagazineContemporary Practices and more.

ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS: Appointed Research Fellow at Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD). University of Johannesburg. (Appointment beginning in June 2018 – ongoing.) 

OTHER APPOINTMENTS: Board member, Lightwork: a non-profit photographers’ organisation, Syracuse University. (Appointment beginning in September 2018-ongoing.)

Publications

Article (in Review):

  • “‘The famous and the obscure were there, waitingfor freedom’: Jeeva Rajgopaul’s photographs of South African Exiles in New York, 1991”. (Under review, for Critical Arts.)

Book Chapter:

Catalogue/Other Essays: 

  • “The Capacity-Building-Workshop-in-Africa and the Great White Saviour Industrial Complex Hokem”. For Journal of African Cultural Studies(JACS)’s upcoming special issue on “Ethical Collaborations?” (forthcoming).
  •  “Relocating the Fragments: The Kaleidoscopic Vision of Todd Gray”. Exhibition catalogue essay for Todd Gray: Euclidean Gris Gris. Pomona College.September 3, 2019 - May 17, 2020.
  • “‘Durga of the Canefields’: Sharlene Khan’s When the Moon Waxes Red”. Essay for South African multimedia artist Sharlene Khan, artist’s book (2019). pp. 85-104.
  •  “Gabrielle Goliath’s ‘Elegy’is a Powerful Lamentation for Victims of Sexual Violence:
  • Winner of the Future Generation Special Prize, the artist sheds a light on rape culture in South Africa and around the world.” 31 May 2019. friezeMagazine.
  • The Enduring Legacy of Frederick Douglass: Isaac Julien’s latest film explores the life and work of a man who believed in the power of photographs to transform American society.” Aperture Blog. 10 May 2019.
  • Does a Woman Have to Be Invincible? In her latest exhibition, Phoebe Boswell takes self-portraits—and self-healing—to a new level.” Aperture Blog. 3 April 2019. 
  • Re:Collection: M. Neelika Jayawardane on Zanele Muholi.” Lightwork blog. Lightwork, Syracuse, NY.
  • “Structures, State Violence, and Social Relations: David Goldblatt and Peter Magubane’s Cartographies of South Africa”. Exhibition Catalogue for: On Common Ground: David Goldblatt & Peter Magubane(28 July – 25 August 2018); curated by Paul Weinberg. Goodman Gallery Johannesburg. 2019. 
  • “Stamped on the Body: Aesthetics of power and decay in Zarina Bhimji’s Lead White.”Exhibition catalogue essay for Zarina Bhimji: Lead White. Tate Britain. Heni Publishing. November 19, 2018 - June 2, 2019.
  • “Homing Devices: South African Artists and Their Performative Bodies.” Exhibition catalogue essay for Continental Drift: Black / Blak Art From South Africa and North Australia. Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. July 2018.
  •  “Mixtapes, Sonic Landscapes, and the Poverty Archive: The Politics and Poetics of the Im/Mobilised ‘Semi-politan’”. Exhibition Catalogue essay for: African Mobilities: This Is Not a Refugee Camp. The Architekturmuseum der TU München, Munich, Germany. June 2018.
  • “Chemutai Ngok” (catalogue entry). Songs for Sabotage. New Museum 2018 Triennale. Phaidon. 2018. pp. 161-178.

News Articles:

Creative Publications:

  • Blue Dress”. Papercuts Magazine: “Nomad” issue; Vol. 20. Fall 2018. 

Conferences

  • Mentor/Workshop Leader:Art Writing Work: New Engagements for Artists in East Africa. Acollaborative project and a part of the ‘Networking Artists in East Africa’ programme. Partners include Nairobi Contemporary, British Council in East Africa, 32 Degrees East, Ugandan Arts Trust, Makerere University, and British Council. Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council and Global Challenges Research Fund (UK). 25th-April—1stMay; Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda.
  • Panel discussion organised:“South African artists Gabrielle Goliath & Simon Gush, in discussion with Neelika Jayawardane.” State University of New York-Oswego (SUNY-Oswego). 1stMarch, 2019.
  • “Gabrielle Goliath, Simon Gush, Jaleel Campbell, in discussion with Neelika Jayawardane”. Syracuse University, Newhouse Centre for Global Engagement. “‘No Innocence This Side of the Womb’: Confronting Issues of Equality, Privilege, and Justice, From Syracuse and South Africa”. (http://newhouseglobal.syr.edu/event/satosyr/).28thFebruary 2019.
  • Invited speaker at symposium:“‘Inside the artery of political consciousness’: Khotso House, the Afrapix Photographers’ Collective, and the Synergies and Confluences that provided ‘a small and embattled community’ with a Practical Political Education”. Photography and Resistance Research symposium. 29th– 30thJanuary 2019. University of Brighton.
  • Invited speaker at symposium:“‘The famous and the obscure were there, waitingfor freedom’: Jeeva Rajgopaul’s photographs of South African Exiles in New York, 1991”. Conference: “Curatorial Care, Humanising Practices – Past Presences as Present Encounters”.VIAD, University of Johannesburg, 11-13 April, 2018.
  • Public talk: in conversation with Paul Weinberg: On Common Ground: David Goldblatt & Peter MagubaneGoodman Gallery, Cape Town. 27 October 2019. 
  • Invited speaker at opening of exhibition:“The Body as a ‘Homing Device’: South African Artists and Performance”. Exhibition opening of Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia. Continental Drift: Black / Blak Art From South Africa and North Australia. Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns, Queensland, Australia. 10 July 2018.

Performances and exhibitions

Invited Reviewer/ Arts Critic & Writer

  • 2017 Venice Biennale. Venice, Italy. May 2017.
  • Johannesburg Art Fair. Johannesburg, South Africa. September 2016.
  • Rencontres de Bamako (Bamako Encounters), 10th Edition: “Telling Time”. Invited Arts Writer – Guest of curator Olabisi Silva. November 1-5, 2015.
  • Sharjah Biennale. May 10-16, 2015. Invited Writer – Guest of Hoor Al-Qasimi, President of The Sharjah Art Foundation.


Workshop Leader:

  • Critical Writing Workshop for Arts Writers. Sponsored by Contemporary And, a site for writing about contemporary art from Africa. Harare, Zimbabwe. Lecturer/Workshop Leader. Sept. 2017.
  • Goethe-Institut Johannesburg’s Centres of Learning for Photography in Africa (CLPA) at LagosPhoto Festival. Critical skills workshop for photographers. Lagos, Nigeria. Workshop leader/lecturer. October 2016.

 

Invited Lecturer, Speaker, Panelist:

  • “African and African Diaspora Photojournalists and Artists: Infiltrating the Image Repertoire of Africa.” Ford Foundation’s “Global Conversations” Speaker Series. New York City.  November 2017. Speaker.
  • “How do I experience this art? Writing about art for contemporary audiences.” School of the Visual Arts (SVA). November 2017.
  • “Can We Have Mobility? Afropolitanism in the Age of White Supremacy, Nationalism, and Border Panic?” Harare Exchange for African Mobilities. Speaker. September 2017.
  • “Revealing Portraits: Zanele Muholi’s ‘Visual Activism.’” International Curators Independent Curatorial Hub, New York. 22 August 2017.
  • “Six Mountains on Her Back”: (Re) thinking African Feminisms Colloquium (South Africa). July, 2017. Speaker.
  • Speaker: “Beyond the Frame: Contemporary Photography from Africa and the Diaspora” Symposium. Walther Collection/Columbia University. October 21, 2016.

Classes taught

SPRING 2020 COURSES

ENG 102/620 TR 9:35-10:55 210 Marano CC
ENG 360-800 TR 2:20-3:40 220 Mahar Hall
ENG 365/810 TR 11:10-12:30 142 Marano CC

ENG 102 COMPOSITON II: Practice in college level writing, includes preparation of a research paper.

ENG 360 LITERATURE IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT: In this class, we will be reading literature that conveys the experiences of travellers and migrants. The characters in each novel have moved across continents and oceans, taking ideas, goods, food, customs, and reading habits with them as they move from continent to continent. Their displacement from the places in which their families and ancestors lived gives them broader, and richer understanding of the world; but they also encounter resistance from their new locations, and—as a result—also experience confusion, alienation, and loneliness. They also find fortitude, resilience, and creative methodologies for surviving institutional and individually-directed violence. 

The purpose of this course is to help each of us, as readers, thinkers, and social-political beings, become more aware of the politics of being a stranger—and why those who are seen as ‘other’ encounter so much resistance (or: why we, as the ‘native’, feel so threatened by the ‘other’). These are urgent issues for us to think about at this moment in history—not just in the United States, but also in several other geo-political locations in which economic distress has been accompanied by a rise of ‘nativism’ (or nationalism), and persecution of the ‘other’. Exploring the experiences of fictional ‘others’ in a small selection of contemporary literature—novels and memoirs different from the ‘classics’ to which you may have been previously exposed—may help us better understand our reactions and roles at this particular juncture in history. The novels and memoirs we read in this class will help us become critical thinkers and help us understand our individual roles in society. We will also learn how to respond to though our own informed, well-designed, and well-researched writing.

My job, as a professor, is to prepare you with necessary skills, workplace expectations, and professionalism expected at any job. I’m acutely aware of the competition you will be up against from students from other universities in the US, and from other parts of the world—so much so that I don’t believe it is ethical for me as an educator to permit the usual excuses all students make. So: 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. Written assignments will include the use of literary discussion to structure well-reasoned arguments, using standard English grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. in order to write excellent analytical papers. It’s not a course designed to teach you basic grammar and mechanics. 

ENG 365 JUNIOR SEMINAR: AUTHOR, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 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, produced by a particular author—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 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—then address the continuations and differences inherent in Adichie’s works. We will also familiarise ourselves with the scholarship surrounding Adichie, as well as the writing she produces on blogs, her public talks (available on video), and in popular (and literary) publications.

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. In addition, we may also explore art and photography produced by contemporary artists from the locale (Lagos, Nigeria and West Africa in general), to look at the ways in which written texts and image narratives work together.

My job, as a professor, is to prepare you with necessary skills, workplace expectations, and professionalism expected at any job. I’m acutely aware of the competition you will be up against from students from other universities in the US, and from other parts of the world—so much so that I don’t believe it is ethical for me as an educator to permit the usual excuses all students make. So: 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. Written assignments will include the use of literary discussion to structure well-reasoned arguments, using standard English grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. in order to write excellent analytical papers. It’s not a course designed to teach you basic grammar and mechanics. 

FALL 2019 COURSES

ENG 360/810 MW 3:00-4:25 306 Marano CC
ENG 365/800 MW 4:40-6:10 322 Marano CC
ENG 465/810 MW 6:25-7:50 322 Marano CC

ENG 360 LITERATURE IN A  GLOBAL CONTEXT-

ENG 365 JUNIOR SEMINAR-

ENG 465 SEM ADV LIT-