headshot of Zamansele Nsele

Research Description

Zamansele Nsele is Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary African & African Diasporic Art. She is currently working on her first monograph, provisionally titled, “Reckoning
with Post-Apartheid & Imperialist Nostalgias in Archival Art Practice in Africa”. In the monograph, Zamansele Nsele explores how nostalgia can generate visual epistemologies that
sanitize, disavow, and aestheticize oppressive racial histories— despite nostalgia’s conventional significance as an affective structure that affirms Black social life. One of the central themes that is consistent in Zamansele’s research and writing is her critique of image-based rituals of antiblack violence. Zamansele Nsele is the co-editor and contributor to the book: The Imagined New (or what happens when History is a Catastrophe?) Working through Alternative Archives: Art, History, Africa, and the African Diaspora published by Iwalewahaus (2022). She has teaching and interests in critical theories of Blackness in visual art; with a particular emphasis on the tradition of resistance art movements in the United States and South Africa. Her research interests also explore the citationality and curatorial adaptation of the Black literary tradition into visual artworks and art exhibitions—this is the subject of Zamansele’s second book project.

In African Modernism in America 1947-1967; a volume published by Yale University Press (2022) Zamansele Nsele contributed biographical essays on the Black South African artists: Selby Mvusi, Gerard Sekoto and Peter Clark. Zamansele Nsele is widely published and active as a critic, journalist, and cultural organizer, her articles and book chapters have appeared in the Museum of Modern Art’s Post: notes on art in a global context, Routledge Press, English in Africa, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Journal of Student Affairs in Africa, the Mail & Guardian, and in Journalist. We note, for instance, her compelling interviews in the M&G with the Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and the US scholar Frank B. Wilderson III.
Previously, she was Lecturer and course coordinator for the Art History & Visual Culture program at Rhodes University (2014-2017) and Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg (2017-2022) where she taught Black visual culture. Nsele is the co-convener of the Gerard Sekoto Winter/Summer that is administered through the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Zamansele was named in 2018, one of the Mail & Guardian’s prestigious top 200 young South Africans.  She was selected amongst the top 15 art historians in the Global South to participate in the CAA-
Getty program in 2018. Zamansele Nsele has chaired and presented in panels at the Arts Council of African Studies Association (ACASA) triennial.

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