Ansurie Pillay



  • 2017 Distinguished Teachers Award, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2012 PhD Relief Grant, College of Humanities Research Office, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2011-2012 Strategic Research Grant, College of Humanities Research Office, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2010 University Travel Grant, Faculty of Education Research Office, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2003 Commonwealth Vision Award for Excellence in Film-making, London
  • 2002 National Television Awards (3 awards) for excellence in television production, Durban
  • 2001 National Television Awards (4 awards) for excellence in television production, Durban
  • 1980 Burnwood Secondary School Head Prefect

Professional Experience

Research Interests

  • Student/ teacher agency/ Agents of change
  • Critical pedagogy/ critical theory
  • Participatory/Action Research
  • Language Education
  • Social justice education

Teaching Interests

  • Literary texts to teach social justice
  • English Education pedagogy
  • Literary, language and educational theory
  • Representation

Professional Affiliations

  • 2015 – 2016 Action Learning and Action Research Association
  • 2014 – 2018 South African Education Research Association
  • 2013 – 2015 English Academy of Southern Africa
  • 2013 – 2014 Reading Association of South Africa

Acedemic Services

  • 2018   Programme Evaluator at Council for Higher Education (CHE)
  • 2017 – 2019 School of Education School Board Representative on College Academic Affairs Board (CAAB)
  • 2017 Convenor of Panel of the 2017 Thomas Pringle Award for Best Article in Education
  • 2016 – 2016 Cluster Leader: Language and Arts Education, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2014 – 2016 Research and Higher Degrees Committee, University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Education
  • 2014 – 2018 Peer Reviewer for Journals and Book Chapters
  • Peer Reviewer for Journals: Educational Research for Social Change; Perspectives in Education; Alternation; Agenda; South African Journal of Education; The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa; In Education (a Canadian publication); African Perspectives of Research in Teaching and Learning; Third World Quarterly; Journal of Education
  • Peer Reviewer for Book Chapter: Object Medleys: Interpretive Possibilities for Educational Research (eds. Pillay, Pithouse-Morgan, Naicker)
  • 2017 Peer Reviewer:  National Research Foundation (NRF)
  • 2018 Independent Peer Reviewer – invited to evaluate a journal (Per Linguam) as part of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) peer review process of DHET accredited journals.
  • 2014 – 2017 I have examined 10 M.Ed. dissertations and 3 PhD theses (to date)
  • 2009 – 2011; 2013 – 2015   Discipline Co-ordinator: English Education, Language and Arts Education, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2013 – Present External Examiner:
  • 2017: B.Ed. (Sol Plaatjie University)
  • 2015; 2016: B.Ed. Honours English Language Communication (Rhodes University)
  • 2014; 2015; 2016: B.Ed. Language Methodology (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018: PGCE English Home Language; PGCE English Second Language (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)
  • 2013; 2014; 2015; 2016: B.Ed. English Communication (Embury College)
  • 1999 Acting Head of Department: Languages and Speech and Drama (Durban Girls’ Secondary)
  • 1997 – 1998 South African Certification Board (SAFCERT) representative for Speech and Drama (KZN)
  • 1987 – 1999 Member – KZN Speech and Drama Provincial Committee
  • 1996 – 1998 Senior Certificate Examiner (KZN) for Speech and Drama – Head of Panel
  • 1996 – 1999 Senior Certificate Sub-examiner / Chief Marker

Selected Publications

Postgraduate Teaching

  • B.Ed. (Honours) and M.Ed. modules at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
    2009 – Present   Cinematic, Television and Documentary Film Narratives; Critical Awareness of Language and Media; Language in Education; Narratives in Education

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Student Supervision

Research Projects

Community Engagement

Project Engagement

Funded by: Andrew Mellon Foundation & Centre of Excellence in Food Security

Principal Investigator: Prof Relebohile Moletsane (UKZN)

Co-investigators: University of KwaZulu-Nata; (UKZN), Western Cape (UWC) & Pretoria (UP).

The objectives of this collaborative programme of inter-university co-operation are: To deepen and broaden the critical food studies programme as an interdisciplinary and intersectoral critical approach to food as material culture and food studies in the humanities; To deepen knowledge of and insight into national and global scholarship critical food studies in relation to existing knowledge and intellectual activism

Funded by: University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP)

Principal Investigator: Ansurie Pillay (UKZN)

Co-investigators: Bridget Campbell (UKZN); Bheki Mthembu (UKZN); Logan Athiemoolam (NMU); Eileen Scheckle (NMU); Ana Ferreira (WITS); Grant Andrews (WITS); Pravina Pillay (UNIZUL)

This collaborative exchange programme explores and critically interrogates how issues of social justice are incorporated into language education curricula and language education practices, with especial focus on English Education departments at 4 Schools/ Faculties of Education within 4 South African universities, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Zululand, and Nelson Mandela University.

Funded by: The National Research Foundation (NRF)

Principal Investigator: Emmanuel Mgqwashu (Rhodes University)

Co-investigator: Ansurie Pillay (UKZN)

This project examines the role that Rose’s (2005) Learning to Read, Reading to Learn Methodology plays in the development of literacy in 2 secondary schools: 1 in a Black Township and the other in a rural area in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province. Located with the Critical Paradigm, Subjective Epistemology and Mixed-Method approach, the study uses documentary evidence, semi-structured interviews and Learning to Read, Reading to Learn Methodology as research instruments.

Funded by: The National Research Foundation (NRF)

Principal Investigator: Nyna Amin (UKZN)

Co-investigators: Michael Samuel; Ansurie Pillay; Miranda Swart; Angela James; Doras Sibanda; Mari van Wyk (UKZN) + 8 postgraduate students

This project is an exploration of multiple facets of teachers’ work in South Africa. aim of the project: to identify what work teachers do, under what conditions and its nature; to map out a provincial profile of teachers’ work in KwaZulu-Natal; and to implement the findings for teacher preparation. Multiple methodologies elicited data to capture the depth and breadth of teachers’ work.