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Writing Fellowships 2017

JIAS has selected its second intake of 12 Writing Fellows for its Writing Term that will run from mid-February to mid-June 2017. Writing Fellows will have access to a live-in suite at the JIAS complex in Westdene, where they will enjoy a quiet space for work and reflection, and participate in academic community-building. Short biographical notes of some Writing Fellows follow. More will be added as they become available.

The 2017 JIAS Writing Fellows, photographed at JIAS in May.

Scott Anthony

Scott Anthony is a journalist and historian interested in exploring the history of art, propaganda and soft power. He is Assistant Professor in Public History at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and an Affiliate Fellow of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He has worked on several seasons, digital exhibitions and DVD releases for the British Film Institute as well as on projects for the UK’s Science Museum and the V&A. His books include Night Mail (2007), The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit (2011), and Public Relations and the Making of Modern Britain (2012). He has written for numerous magazines, websites and newspapers including The Guardian, The Times, The New Statesman, Sight & Sound, Exeunt, The Stage, and the BBC.

Iordan Avramov

Iordan Avramov is a researcher at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, and a historian interested in early modern intellectual communication. His main research has been focused on Henry Oldenburg (1619?-1677), the first secretary of the Royal Society of London and the dominant figure of scientific communication of the day, and he has published widely on this topic. He has also worked on Robert Boyle, co-authoring (with Michael Hunter and Hideyuki Yoshimoto) Boyle’s Books: the Evidence of his Citations (2010). He has also researched the history of early learned journals. Currently, he is focusing on a project about ‘queries for natural history’, extensive questionnaires used by the Fellows of the early Royal Society to learn more about distant regions, countries and habitats. His JIAS sojourn forms part of the research plan for completing this particular project.


Lee Wei Ching

Lee Wei Ching is a Chinese-Malaysian who grew up in Malaysia and currently lives in Singapore. She is a PhD candidate with the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Academic Group in the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is currently researching teacher efficacy beliefs, teaching task analysis, and science teaching. She holds an MA in education from the University of New South Wales, Australia, with a high distinction for her master’s research project. She was also awarded an independent research grant funded by Malaysia Australia Institute, related to multicultural education in Australia. She is passionate about educational research, and has many years of teaching and research experiences in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Elvis Imafidon

Dr Elvis Imafidon teaches in the Department of Philosophy of Ambrose Alli University in Nigeria. His research centres on African ontology and ethics. He is concerned with the extent to which African concepts of reality affect the African idea of the good, and the implications of African ontology for concepts such as corruption, otherness, disability. personhood and gender. In the past few years, he has been specifically concerned with the implications of African ontology for albinism in Africa, focusing on the inherent epistemology of ignorance and of harmful ideologies. He also has a strong interest in modern philosophy, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science. He is the editor of Ontologized Ethics: New Essays in African Meta-ethics (Lexington Books, 2013) and The Ethics of Subjectivity: Perspectives since the Dawn of Modernity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).


Lee Jong-Min

Lee Jong-Min is an associate professor in the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in the United States. His research interests include electrochemistry, green chemistry, and nanotechnology.

Bill Kinsey

Bill Kinsey is a senior research fellow of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences in Harare, Zimbabwe, and holds honorary appointments with the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford and the African Studies Centre at the University of Leiden. He has held research appointments at several European universities and the University of Zimbabwe, and has served in the Zimbabwean ministries of economic planning and development and of agriculture. With graduate degrees in economics, anthropology and nutrition from Stanford University, his major research interests centre on the empirical policy analysis of issues related to rural poverty, including the long-term welfare dynamics of rural households; land reform programmes in southern Africa and elsewhere; the welfare effects of state policies on rural households, child health and nutrition; and resource management. These interests are addressed primarily through the Zimbabwe Rural Households Dynamics Study, the longest panel study ever undertaken in Africa, which he initiated in 1982 and has directed since.


Pamela Maseko

Pamela Maseko is an Associate Professor at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. She is a sociolinguistic by training. Her areas of research include language policy and planning in education, language development, and the historiography of isiXhosa literature. She has collaborated with researchers in disciplines such as medicine, law, education, media and computer science. Encouraged by her personal experience, and present debates in South African higher education on the marginalisation of indigenous ways of knowing, her present research project investigates language as a source of evidence for reconstructing the sociocultural past of the isiXhosa-speaking society, and making sense of the present. Maseko has published in both local and international journals and books, and is a co-editor of the UKZN isiXhosa Literature Series that publishes works of early isiXhosa literature that appeared in newspapers from the 1830s to the 1940s.

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is a research associate at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2016, she conducted research in India while based at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, enabled by Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Research Award. At JIAS, she will pursue a comparative project on spatial inequality in urban spaces in Delhi and Johannesburg. This work has grown out of a larger project about the movement of people, ideas and capital from more ‘developed’ economies like the US, Germany, and South Korea to less ‘developed’ societies like China, India and South Africa. She is a multidisciplinary researcher, incorporating relevant material from subject areas as diverse as political economy, postcolonial literature, development studies and sociology. Links to some of Melissa Tandiwe Myambo’s writings appear on her website at


Kole Omotoso

Kole Omotoso was born in Akure, Nigeria, in 1943. He completed his secondary education at Kings College in Lagos before obtaining a bachelors degree in Arabic, Islamic Studies and French in 1968. He wrote his doctoral thesis on ritual in Islam and the difficulty of drama and theatre in an islamic cultural environment at the University of Edinburgh, with additional supervision at the Middle East Centre in Oxford and the Arabic Department of the American University in Cairo. He has taught at the University of Ibadan and the University of Ife, since renamed the Obafemi Awolowo University, both in Nigeria. He has also taught at the University of Stirling in Scotland, the National University of Lesotho, the University of the Western Cape, and the University of Stellenbosch. He has appeared in films and television plays, and had been the face of Vodacom in the Yebo Gogo adverts. His publications include The Theatrical into Theatre: Drama and Theatre in the English Speaking Caribbean (New Beacon Books, London, 1982), Achebe or Soyinka: A Study in Contrasts (Hans Zell, Oxford, 1994) and Just Before Dawn (Spectrum Books, Ibadan).

J Brooks Spector

J Brooks Spector settled in Johannesburg after a 30-year career as an American diplomat with assignments in Africa and East Asia, including three tours of duty in South Africa. Since his retirement from the foreign service, He has taught international relations at the University of the Witwatersrand, served as a consultant to an international NGO, managed the internationally renowned Market Theatre for a year, and has been a frequent commentator in South African and international media on international developments and American politics. He has served on the governing council of the Market Theatre for more than a decade. He has also been an associate editor of Daily Maverick since it began online publication in 2009, writing prolifically on a wide range of topics. He sometimes says he has learned virtually everything he needs to know about politics from the classic film ‘Casablanca’.


Maya Wegerif

Maya Wegerif is a 24-year-old-writer from Shirley village in Limpopo province in South Africa. She holds a degree in African Studies from Mount Holyoke College in the United States, and is the most recent resident writer at KSMT. Maya’s poetry has been published in several anthologies, including Timbila, Trials and Tribulations, Verbosity, and New Contrast. She is a regular contributor to True Africa and The Double X Chromosome. She intends to complete her first feature-length film script at JIAS.


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