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

Photograph of Dr Asha Rogers

Department of English Literature
Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature

Contact details

Address
Arts Building, Room 111
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

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. 

Qualifications

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

Biography

I am a South Londoner of dual English-Indian heritage with family roots in Ireland, Kenya, and North India. Educated in the comprehensive system, I studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield (BA and MA), 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. My first academic teaching job was a temporary lectureship in the School of English and Drama at QMUL. I arrived at EDACS in 2016, where I have expanded the teaching of postcolonial literature and culture in the Department of English Literature. Outside of academic life I have worked in community development, community arts, campaigning, and multifaith chaplaincy. 

Teaching

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 an 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 currently co-supervise PGR projects on travel writing on Central Africa, the shifting values of Hindi literature in translation, and myth in postcolonial poetry.


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

Research

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 aims to examine the institutional conditions behind the rise of English as a global language between 1930 and 1970, 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 and editorial Board member of the Journal for Postcolonial Writing (former Special-Issues co-editor with my colleague Dr Fariha Shaikh).

Other recent research projects I’ve curated include:

Publications

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

Book

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.

Article

Rogers, A 2020, 'The literary archives of experience: Richard Rive’s Oxford Library', The Cambridge Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 3.

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

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

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.

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