Jordache Ellapen

Jordache Ellapen

Assistant Professor
Historical Studies - Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Room:
    MN 4220
  • Office Hours:
    Please refer to syllabus and/or contact via email.
  • Mailing Address:

    3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th floor
    Mississauga ON L5L 1C6

Undergraduate Appointment: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Department of Historical Studies, UTM

Graduate Appointment: Women and Gender Studies Institute (St. George)

Affiliations: Bonham Center for Sexual Diversity Studies (St. George)

Cross-appointments: Department of Visual Studies, UTM



PhD. American Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

MA. Cinema Studies, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

MA. Film Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

BA. Dramatic Art, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg



I am an assistant professor of Feminist Studies in Culture and Media. A native from South Africa, living and working in Toronto, I am interested in the relationship between aesthetics, race, and politics in South Africa and the African Diaspora. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I am interested in transnational theories and methods informed by Black studies, African studies, Diaspora Studies, Gender Studies, and Sexuality/Queer Studies. My research and teaching interests include Black queer performance and aesthetic practices; Afro-Indian cultural production; Afro-queer-diasporic film and photography; aesthetics, archives, and affect; Black Sexual Cultures, and race, pleasure, and pornography. I have also published on South African cinema and Nigerian video-films. My research and teaching are invested in examining the relationship between aesthetics, visuality, and decolonization.

I am currently writing a book tentatively titled Against Afronormativity: Afro-Indian Intimacies and the Queer Aesthetics of Race in South Africa, which examines Afro-Indian intimacies and the shifting nature of South African Blackness through a queer studies lens. This book curates an archive of aesthetic practices by feminist, queer, femme and gender non-conforming Afro-Indian and Black South African artists in order to confound how we understand the categories Indian, African, and Black in South Africa. This book seeks to understand how marginalized artist-activists are taking up the incomplete project of freedom in South Africa and reframing what constitutes the political through a radical African queer imaginary. As a curatorial project, this Afro-Indian archive unhinges South African Indianness and Blackness from the normative, directing us to practices of freedom through which we can radically imagine South African society otherwise.

My research eschews disciplinary boundaries in a quest to produce new frameworks and methods to understand culture and society from the perspectives of those most marginalized and vulnerable.

I am currently a Martha LA McCain Faculty Research Fellow in the Bonham Center for Sexual Diversity Studies, which is part of the Queer and Trans Research Lab.


Recent publications include:

2021    “Performing Blackness as Transgressive Erotics: African Futurities and Black Queer Sex in South African Live Art,” in Feminist Formations, 33, no. 2.  (Summer): 52-78.

2021    “Siyakaka Feminism: African Anality and the Politics of Deviance in FAKA’s Performance Art Praxis,” in Feminist Studies, 47, no 1: 114-146.  

2020    “The Brown Photo-Album: An Archive of Feminist Futurity” in Kronos: Southern African Histories, SI titled “The Other Life of the Image,” 42, no. 1 (November): 94-128.

I have also coedited (with Haseenah Ebrahim, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) a special issue of Black Camera: An International Film Journal titled Perspectives on South African Cinema (Spring 2018). I am also the co-editor (with Jyoti Mistry, University of Gothenburg) of the book we remember differently: Race, Memory, Imagination (Pretoria: University of South Africa Press, 2012).