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Sarah Jilani

Sarah Jilani

Department: English

Supervisor: Dr. Priyamvada Gopal

College: King's College

AHRC subject area: Comparative Literature, Post-Colonial Studies

Title of thesis: The Literature and Film of Decolonisation in Africa and South Asia


After a BA (Hons) in English from The University of York (2012, Starred First), I completed an MSt in English at The University of Oxford (2013, Distinction). I then worked in London as a freelance culture journalist for publications including The Economist, The Times Literary Supplement, ArtReview, and The Independent. I have presented papers at the 2015 African Literature Association Convention (University of Beyreuth, Germany), the 2015 Postcolonial Studies Association Conference (University of Leicester, UK) and the University of Sheffield’s 2016 symposium on “The Battle of Algiers at 50”.

At the end of colonial rule and into the decades marked by the cross-continental impetus of decolonisation (1950s - 1970s), writers and filmmakers in Africa and the Subcontinent were engaged with representing the complex political, social and economic conditions post-independence. With colonial economic structures persisting and revolutionary anti-colonial thought overtaken by reactionary nationalisms, they espoused a rethink of what independence had meant and what decolonisation actually entailed. My project examines how, to that end, these works ask and seek to answer how nationhood may yet hold potentialities for decolonising the self. Writers and filmmakers I consider but am not limited to include Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ayi Kwei Armah, R. K. Narayan, Ritwik Ghatak and Ousmane Sembène.

Key Publications

"Violence and Mimicry: "The Battle of Algiers" at 50", The Oxonian Review 30.2, 2016.

"'Black' Spaces: Othello and the Cinematic Language of Othering", Literature/Film Quarterly 43.2, 2015.

"Race, (In)Visibility and Subjecthood in Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible Man' and Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye'", Postgraduate English 29, 2014.

"Writing Exile: Displacement and Arrival in Eva Hoffman and Edward Said", Life Writing 12.2, 2014.