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

Photograph of Dr Asha Rogers

Department of English Literature
Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature

Contact details

Arts Building, Room 111
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I teach and research modern and contemporary writing in English from across postcolonial world (including Britain). I have special interests in the culture-forming work of institutions, the interfaces between the modern state and literary culture, and twentieth-century literary history in a global context. 


  • BA English Literature (University of Sheffield)
  • MA English Literature (University of Sheffield)
  • DPhil English Literature (University of Oxford)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


I am a South Londoner of dual/mixed-race heritage. Educated in the comprehensive system, I studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield and went on to write a doctoral thesis on the global phenomenon of state literary sponsorship at St Anne's College at Oxford, supervised by Peter D. McDonald, where I spent three happy years in archives. I arrived at Birmingham in 2016, where I have expanded the teaching of postcolonial texts and contexts, including teaching with the BBC Caribbean Voices and Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies archives held at the Cadbury Research Library. 


I teach anglophone writing across the twenty and twenty-first centuries. My research-led module Making Global Literatures in Britain, for which I was nominated for a College of Arts and Law Outstanding Teaching Award in 2019, will run in Autumn 2020. In the 20/21 academic year I will also be teaching the undergraduate modules Colonial/Postcolonial, Twenty-First Century Literature, and English in the World. 

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research projects on literature and the modern state, cultural institutions and cultural policy, postcolonial Britain and the decolonizing world, or related topics.

I have co-supervised PGR projects on African travel writing, Hindi literature in translation, myth in postcolonial poetry and the figure of the évolué in African writing.

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research emphasises the archive-based study of literary and cultural institutions, cultural policy, and organizations as definitive forces in twentieth and twenty-first century literary history. I am interested in how forms of political liberalism have shaped culture through these structures, and how acts of literary writing have responded to these demands in turn.

I first addressed these questions in my AHRC-funded thesis, Officially Autonomous: Anglophone Literary Cultures and the State since 1945, which examined how the modern state intervened to protect literary culture from the marketplace. Case studies included the activities of the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arts Council of Great Britain.

This research prompted me to consider the case of post-imperial Britain in particular. My first book State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945 (OUP, 2020) established the changing justifications for state literary support in Britain across multiple institutional contexts, drawing heavily from public archives. It argues that the state acted as an integral custodian of literary freedom in this period, but also that changing beliefs about who constituted literature’s 'public' in the age of multiculturalism had a bearing on its expressive acts and how they were received. You can find out more, and access additional materials, at statesponsoredliterature.com

My next project examines the institutions, organizations and policies contributing to the rise of English as a global language in the late colonial period, partly based on the activities of the British Council. I remain interested in the global histories of texts and their multivalent uses. 

Other Recent Activities

I am a committee member of the Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture. I review for a range of international journals of postcolonial and international writing, and formerly served on the editorial Board member of the Journal for Postcolonial Writing with my EDACS colleague Dr Fariha Shaikh.

Research projects I’ve curated at Birmingham include:


Highlight publications

Rogers, A 2020, State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945. Oxford English Monographs, Oxford University Press, Oxford. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198857761.001.0001

Recent publications


Rogers, A, Boehmer, E, Kunstmann, R & Mukhopadhyay, P (eds) 2017, The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices. New Directions in Book History, Palgrave Macmillan.


Rogers, A 2020, 'The literary archives of experience: Richard Rive’s Oxford Library', The Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 252–270. https://doi.org/10.1093/camqtly/bfaa015

Rogers, A 2015, 'Crossing 'other cultures'? Reading Tatamkhulu Afrika's 'Nothing's Changed' in the NEAB Anthology', English in Education, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 80-93. https://doi.org/10.1111/eie.12060

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Rogers, A 2022, The Transcription Centre and the Coproduction of African Literary Culture in the 1960s. in G Barnhisel (ed.), The Bloomsbury Handbook to Cold War Literary Cultures. Bloomsbury Handbooks, Bloomsbury Academic.

Rogers, A 2017, Black Orpheus and the African magazines of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. in G Scott-Smith & CA Lerg (eds), Campaigning Culture and the Global Cold War: : The Journals of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 243-259. <http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137598660>

Rogers, A 2017, Culture in transition: Rajat Neogy’s transition (1961–1968) and the decolonization of African literature. in D Davies, E Lombard & B Mountford (eds), Fighting Words: Fifteen Books that Shaped the Postcolonial World. 1st edn, Race and Resistance Across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century, vol. 1, Peter Lang, pp. 183-199. https://doi.org/10.3726/b13185

Rogers, A, Boehmer, E, Mukhopadhay, P & Kunstmann, R 2017, Introduction. in E Boehmer, R Kunstmann, P Mukhopadhyay & A Rogers (eds), The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices. New Directions in Book History, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-20.

Review article

Rogers, A 2020, 'The Dead Ends of Decolonization, or Faith in the Literary?', Contemporary Literature, pp. 118-126.

View all publications in research portal