Keynote Speakers


Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, King’s College London

Ananya Jahanara Kabir is Professor of English Literature at King’s College London. She researches the intersection of the written text with other forms of cultural expression within acts of collective memorialization and forgetting. Through an ERC Advanced Grant (2013-2018), she led an interdisciplinary investigation into African-heritage social dance and music across language worlds. She received the Infosys Humanities Prize in 2018 and she spent 2019 at the Freie Universität, Berlin, as a recipient of the Humboldt Forschungspreis. She is the author of Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir (2009) and Partition’s Post-Amnesias: 1947, 1971, and Modern South Asia (2013), and is currently writing ‘Alegropolitics: connecting on the Afromodern Dance Floor.’ Her new research projects explore further the concepts of transoceanic creolization through cultural production across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.


Prof. Stef Craps, Ghent University

Stef Craps is a professor of English literature at Ghent University, Belgium, where he directs the Cultural Memory Studies Initiative. His research interests lie in twentieth-century and contemporary literature and culture, memory and trauma studies, postcolonial theory, and ecocriticism and environmental humanities. He is the author of Postcolonial Witnessing: Trauma Out of Bounds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Trauma and Ethics in the Novels of Graham Swift: No Short-Cuts to Salvation (Sussex Academic Press, 2005), a co-author of Trauma (Routledge, 2020), and a co-editor of Memory Unbound: Tracing the Dynamics of Memory Studies (Berghahn, 2017). He has also (co-)edited special issues of American ImagoStudies in the Novel, and Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts on ecological grief, climate change fiction, postcolonial trauma novels, and transcultural Holocaust memory.


Dr Anwar Janoo, University of Mauritius

Dr Anwar Janoo holds a Ph.D. in Palaeontology from the Muséum National d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, a postdoctoral Chapman Fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and a postdoc tenure at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro & the Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He recently retired as Senior Lecturer from the University of Mauritius where he taught Heritage Studies, Mascarenes Natural History and Archaeology, and Indian Ocean Studies. His research interests include the cultural heritage of Mauritius and dodo systematics. In the cultural heritage field, he worked on the nomination dossiers for the two Mauritian UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely Le Morne Cultural Landscape and Aapravasi Ghat;and played an important role in preparing the UNESCO nomination dossiers for Sega Tipik, Geet Gawai and Sega Tambor as the intangible cultural heritage of Mauritius 


Prof. George Abungu, Archaeologist and International Heritage Consultant

Prof. George Henry Okello Abungu is a Cambridge-trained archaeologist and former Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya. He is the founding Chairman of Africa 2009, ISCOTIA (International Standing Committee on the Traffic in Illicit Antiquities), and CHDA (Centre for Heritage Development in Africa), among others. He has been a guest scholar at the Getty Conservation and Getty Research Institutes, Los Angeles; Elizabeth Eddy Professor of Applied Anthropology, University of Florida; and founding Associate Professor of Heritage Studies, University of Mauritius. He is a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies. He has numerous publications in the disciplines of archaeology, heritage management, museology, culture and development, heritage and tourism, and heritage and sustainable development. Currently he serves as a Special Advisor to the Director General of ICCROM, Rome.


Ari Gautier

Ari Gautier is a French novelist from Pondicherry of Indo-Malagasy origin, based in Oslo. He writes historical fiction about Pondicherry’s place in the world, and works at Melahuset, Norway, an institution promoting art and culture from the Global South. In May 2020, Ari Gautier co-founded along with Ananya Jahanara Kabir, the online cultural platform, Le Thinnai Kreyol, that promotes their shared vision for a plural, multicultural, and creolised India. He has published two novels, Le carnet secret de Lakshmi (2016) and Le Thinnai (2018), and a collection of short stories, Nocturne Pondichéry (2021). He is currently working on his third novel, Pondichéry: une saga kreyole.

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