Neelika Jayawardane

Associate Professor


307 Marano Campus Center


Class website

Office hours

Spring 2018
Tuesday & Thursday
12:45 - 2:00
or by timely appointment
Email professor 24hr. in advance.

Neelika Jayawardane

M. Neelika Jayawardane is Associate Professor of English at the State University of New York-Oswego, and an Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA), University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa). She is a founding member of the online magazine, Africa is a Country, where she was Senior Editor and contributor from 2010-2016. She teaches postcolonial literature and theory with a special focus on contemporary African literature, and literature that focuses on immigration, displacement, and travel. Her scholarly publications focus on the nexus between South African literature, photography, and the transnational/transhistorical implications of colonialism and apartheid on the body. She is working two projects: her first project is a book project on the Afrapix Collective, “South Africa’s only anti-apartheid photography agency”; her second project focuses on art produced as a vital part of the #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall, and other coterminous student-activists’ movements in South Africa.Among numerous published texts, Jayawardane recently contributed the main essay for the South Africa pavilion's  57th Venice Biennale catalogue, and essays for The Walther Collection’s publication (2017) and other artists’ catalogues. Her writing is featured in TransitionsApertureAl Jazeera English, Contemporary&, Art South AfricaContemporary Practices: Visual Art from the Middle EastEven, and Research in African Literatures.

Class webpage here


Book Chapters:

Scholarly Essays and Articles:

  • “No Shore in Sight: Precarious Journeys and Unbearable Passages in the Moving Image Installations of Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng.” Catalogue essay for the South Africa Pavilion, The 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. 2017. (Forthcoming)
  • “Photography as Travel Memoir: Itinerancy, Movement, and Subjectivity Formation in Kenyan photographer Mimi Cherono’s Work.” Recent Histories: Contemporary African Photography and Video Art, Catalogue essay for Walther Collection, 2017. (Forthcoming).
  • “Zanele Muholi’s Somnyama Ngonyama: Embracing the Dark Lionesses’ Call”. For Aperture (forthcoming in 2017).
  • “Liminal Horizons: Joël Andrianomearisoa’s When the day belongs to the night.” Catalogue essay for Joel Andrianomeriosoa’s work at the India Art Fair, 2017.
  • “Precarious Bricoleurs: Simphiwe Ndzube’s Becoming.” Exhibition catalogue essay for Simphiwe Ndzube’s solo exhibition, 2016. Whatiftheworld Gallery, Cape Town.
  •  “Dreaming of Transcendence: Andrew Tshabangu’s Photography.” Exhibition catalogue essay for Andrew Tshabangu’s solo exhibition, 2016. Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.
  • “Otobong Nkanga: Transformations and Erasures.” Art of Nigerian Women. 2016.
  •  “Between Nostalgia and Future Dreaming: Aida Muluneh’s Portraits”. Transition 120 (June 2016).

Articles (Journalism):


  • 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