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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



After completing a BA in English at The University of York (2012) and an MSt in English (1900-Present) at The University of Oxford (2013), I was a London-based freelance arts writer for publications including The Economist, The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and ArtReview. In 2017, I began my PhD at King's College, Cambridge with a joint AHRC-Isaac Newton Trust award.

My thesis considers early postcolonial (1950s-1970s) African and South Asian novels and films for their treatments of subjectivity in relation to decolonisation. The self remains a central concern for postcolonial studies: space and place were the objects of colonial domination, but the subjugation of the colonised, via the refusal and manipulation of their subjecthood, accompanied this. Working with a dialectical and materialist conception of selfhood drawn from the thought of Frantz Fanon, I seek to investigate the relationship between subjectivity and the socio-economic everyday of (neo-/)post-coloniality in these works. I consider, amongst others, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Ayi Kwei Armah, Satyajit Ray, Buchi Emecheta, Kamala Markandaya and Ousmane Sembène.

I am also interested in nationhood and nationalisms; Third Cinema theory and practice; realism; materialist feminism; Frantz Fanon; and the mid-twentieth century's Third World internationalisms.


Key publications: 


"The Empowered Liminality of Medea: Pasolini and Von Trier's Unrepresentable Woman", Another Gaze (Issue 2), 2018.

"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's and Edward Said's Memoirs", Life Writing 12.2, 2014.


Book Reviews

"Contemporary Diasporic South Asian Women's Fiction' by Ruvani Ranasinha. Women: A Cultural Review Vol. 29, Issue 3, 2018. 

"'Algiers: Third World Capital' by Elaine Mokhtefi." The Times Literary Supplement (Dec 2018).

"'Frantz Fanon: Philosopher of the Barricades' by Peter Hudis." The Times Literary Supplement (Feb 2016).

"'Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema' by Sophie Mayer." The Times Literary Supplement (May 2016).

Department: English
Supervisor: Dr. Priyamvada Gopal
College: King's College
AHRC subject area: Comparative Literature, Post-Colonial Studies
Title of thesis: Subjectivity and Decolonisation in African and South Asian Film and Literature
 Sarah  Jilani