Sarah Jilani, King's

Degree: PhD
Course: CC
Supervisor: Dr Priya Gopal
Dissertation Title: Realising the Nation, Re-making the Self: The Literature and Film of Decolonisation in Africa and South Asia

Biographical Information

After a BA (Hons) in English at The University of York (2012) and an MSt in English at The University of Oxford (2013), I wrote freelance on contemporary art, film and books for publications including The Economist, The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and ArtReview. In 2017, I began my PhD at Cambridge with a joint AHRC-Isaac Newton Trust award.

Research Interests

My thesis considers early postcolonial (1955-1985) African and South Asian realist 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. I examine the relationship between subjectivity and the material everyday in these works. I consider, amongst others, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Ayi Kwei Armah, Satyajit Ray, Buchi Emecheta, Kamala Markandaya and Ousmane Sembène.

My research interests also include Third Cinema theory and practice; tricontinentalism and its legacies; materialist feminism; and literary and cinematic social realisms.

Areas of Supervision

I have taught the texts and concepts of postcolonial studies in both Cambridge's small group format and in large group settings at other institutions. I have supervised a Part I dissertation on Leila Aboulela and am currently supervising a Part II dissertation on Derek Walcott. I welcome contact from students interested in working on any of the above or related topics, and from Directors of Studies seeking supervisors.

Selected Publications

(Revision Under Review) "Neocolonialism and the Resistant Subject in Ayi Kwei Armah’s 'The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born'". Journal of Postcolonial Writing. 

"Intimate Epics". Review of "Contemporary Diasporic South Asian Women's Fiction" by Ruvani Ranasinha. Women: A Cultural Review 29:3-4, 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.