Dr Asha Rogers BA, MA (Sheffield), DPhil (Oxon)

Photograph of Dr Asha Rogers

Department of English Literature
Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 111
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I arrived at Birmingham in 2016 and teach postcolonial literatures in English. I have research interests in postcolonial studies, the modern state and its interfaces with literary culture, the Cold War and decolonisation, the study of cultural institutions, and book history/print culture studies.


  • BA English Literature (University of Sheffield)
  • MA English Literature (University of Sheffield)
  • DPhil English Literature (University of Oxford)


I arrived at Birmingham following a year teaching postcolonial literature at QMUL. Prior to that I wrote a doctoral thesis on the phenomenon of state literary sponsorship at Oxford, and studied for a BA and MA in Sheffield before that. Outside of academic life I have worked in community development, activism and the arts, and interfaith work. I hail from South-East London with family roots in Ireland, Kenya, and north India.


In their 2016/2017 academic year I will be contributing to the following modules:

  • Plays and Performance
  • Prose
  • New World Orders
  • Twenty-First Century Literature
  • Contemporary Literature (MA)

Postgraduate supervision

I would be interested in hearing from individuals with proposals related to any of my research interests.


My AHRC-funded thesis examined how the modern state intervened to support literary culture after 1945, thereby becoming an integral, though conflicted, guardian of literary autonomy in the postcolonial world.

I’m currently adapting this into a monograph titled State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945, with chapters on the British Council, the Arts Council, the Rushdie Affair, GCSE anthologies, and UNESCO. Examining the changing justifications for state support of literature in Britain, I argue that beliefs about who constituted literature’s ‘public’ were radically challenged by the unrivalled migration to Britain at the end of Empire.

My research draws on the archive-based study of literary and cultural institutions, cultural policy, and organizations as definitive forces in literary history. More broadly, I’m interested in how democratic liberalism has shaped literary culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My abiding interest is in the global histories of texts and their multivalent uses.

Other activities

I have presented my research at conferences in the UK and internationally. Most recently I gave a paper on Black British Writing and the Arts Council at the University of Stockholm for the conference ‘Presumed Autonomy: Literature and the Arts in Theory and Practice’.

Public engagement activities I’ve been involved with include chairing a debate on GCSE English and Gove’s curriculum for Oxford Student PEN: 'What’s Education For Anyway? ' and podcasts on: ‘Achebe and the African Writers Series’ with the publishers James Currey and Becky Ayebia Clarke and Dr Ruth Bush.

I am a member of the Postcolonial Studies Association, the MLA, and Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.

I hold Associate Membership of the Higher Education Academy, and have completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (QMUL).


  • State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945 (in progress)
  • Co-editor with Elleke Boehmer, Priyasha Mukhopadhay and Rouven Kunstmann, The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices, New Directions in Book History Series (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘Black Orpheus and the African magazines of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’ in The Global Cold War for the Mind: The Journals and Networks of the Congress for Cultural Freedom ed. Giles Scott-Smith (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2017).
  • ‘Rajat Neogy’s Transition: A Journal of the Arts, Culture and Society (1961–1968)’ in Fighting Words: Fifteen Books That Shaped the Postcolonial World ed. Dominic Davies, Erica Lombard and Ben Mountford (Peter Lang, forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘Penguin Books’ The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies vol. 2, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2016).
  • ‘Es’kia Mphahlele’ The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies vol.2, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2016).
  • ‘Crossing “other cultures”? Reading Tatamkhulu Afrika's Nothing's Changed in the NEAB Anthology’, English in Education Special Issue: Reading, Vol. 49, no. 1, 2015, pp. 80-93. Peer- reviewed article.
  • Review: Peter J. Kalliney Commonwealth of Letters: British Literary Culture and the Emergence of Postcolonial Aesthetics (2013) and Caroline Davis Creating Postcolonial Literature: African Writers and British Publishers (2013), Wasafiri: Journal of International Contemporary Writing, Vol. 30, issue 1, 2015, pp. 86-88.
  • ‘Reading the Marketplace: Aravind Adiga’s recent fiction’, IUP Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol 3 no. 1, 2011, pp. 7-20. Peer-reviewed article.