Jordache Ellapen

Jordache Ellapen

Assistant Professor Historical Studies - Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Office Location:
MN 4214
Office Hours:
Please refer to syllabus and/or contact via email.
3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th floor
Mississauga , ON
L5L 1C6
  • Ph.D. American Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • M.A. Cinema Studies, New York University
  • M.A. Dramatic Art, University of the Witwatersrand
  • B.A. Dramatic Art, University of the Witwatersrand


Jordache A. Ellapen is an Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies in Culture and Media in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program in the Department of Historical Studies at UTM and holds a graduate appointment in the Women and Gender Studies Institute. His research interests focus primarily on the intersections between aesthetic practices, race and racial formations, and transgressive sexuality and erotics in the African and Indian diasporic contexts. His current research and publications theorize the relationships between cultural politics and political culture in South Africa and the diaspora.

He is also the 2018-2019 JHI-Mellon Early Career Faculty Fellow at the University of Toronto.

He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Against Afronormativity: Queering Afro-Asian Intimacies, Sticky Erotics, and the Aesthetics of Race in South Africa, which traces the ways in which brown (Indian/South Asian) and black women and queer South African artists employ abjection and erotics as a disruptive aesthetic strategy to critique the formation of new normativities of race, class, gender, sexuality, and erotics after 1994. By examining  a visual culture archive that includes film, photography, performance, and other fine art practices he argues that artist-activists mobilize “sticky erotics” to critique the linear and heteronormative underpinning of the post-apartheid nation and sanctioned form of blackness. Through the heuristic of “sticky erotics,” this book also traces counterintuitive forms of Afro-Indian intimacies in a context where the Indian is constantly produced as “alien-other” and therefore not entitled to “enjoy” the new nation, whilst heteronormative formations of blackness are mobilized to define the authentic national subject in the contemporary period. His research eschews disciplinary boundaries in a quest to produce new frameworks and methods to understand the production and intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and the erotic in the era of neoliberal capital.

His research and teaching focus on black and African feminist and queer studies, transnational sexuality studies, queer diaspora studies, and race and racial formations, particularly in the global South. He teaches  classes on Queer Africa; Race, Sex, and Pleasure; Race and Visual Culture, focusing on black and African feminist and queer artists/aesthetics; Global Blackness and the African Diaspora; and African and Black American cinemas.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Toronto, Jordache A. Ellapen was assistant professor at the University of Oregon and postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also been the recipient of the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program, a Social Science Research Council Fellowship, and his practice-based research has been supported by the National Arts Council of South Africa.



Edited Collections:

  • we remember differently: Race, Memory, Imagination (UNISA Press, 2012)
  • “Cinema in Post-apartheid South Africa: New Perspectives,” edited by Jordache A. Ellapen and Haseenah Ebrahim. Black Camera: An International Film Journal (Spring 2018)

Recent publications include:

  • “Geographies of the Black African Masculine in Tsotsi and The Wooden Camera” (in Black Camera: An International Film Journal 9:2, 2018);
  • “Queering the Archive: Brown Bodies in Ecstasy, Visual Assemblages and the Pleasures of Transgressive Erotics” (in Scholar and Feminist Online 14:3, 2018);
  • When the Moon Waxes Red: Afro-Asian Feminist Intimacies and the Aesthetics of Indenture,” (in Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 21:2, 2017).



Jordache A. Ellapen is also a practicing visual artist. Through his practice-based research, he uses film and photography to explore the intersections of history, memory, sexuality, desire, and pleasure. His practice incorporates various kinds of visual media like digital photography, studio and vernacular photography, photo albums, and other family archival material, through which he examines the intimacies of the everyday. In his current practice, he is interested in “queering” family narratives and histories by positioning the family archive as a counterintuitive, yet generative, archive in producing knowledge about marginalized subjects and experiences that have been “forgotten” though normative and hegemonic scripts of nation, community, and family. His short film cane/cain premiered at the Durban International Film Festival and the 3rd i San Francisco South Asian International Film Festival in 2011. His current project, “Queering the Archive: Brown Bodies in Ecstasy” has been exhibited in Durban (Kwa Zulu Natal Society of the Arts), Johannesburg (The Point of Order, Wits University), and most recently in Cape Town (Michaelis Galleries).



Gender and Sexuality Studies; Afro-diasporic Aesthetic Practices; Queer African Studies; Black Queer Studies; Afro-Asian Studies; Queer Diasporas; Race and Eroticism; Queer of Color Critique; Race and Racial Formations; American Studies; Postcolonial Studies; Critical Theory


Current Courses: 


  • WGS200Y5Y: Theories in Women and Gender Studies


  • WGS434H5S​: Special Topics in Women & Gender Studies: Queer Africa