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 teach Anglophone postcolonial and contemporary literatures. As well as broad research interests in postcolonial and world literary studies, I’m also interested in the interfaces between the modern state and literary culture in Britain, 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)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


I arrived at Birmingham in 2016 following a temporary lectureship 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’m a South Londoner with family roots in Ireland, Kenya, and north India.


I convene the following modules in 2017-18:

  • Colonial/Postcolonial
  • New World Orders? Literature after 1945
  • Dissertation/Extended Essay in English Literature

 I will be contributing to:

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

Postgraduate supervision

I would be interested in hearing from individuals with proposals related to my research interests. I currently co-supervise projects on Anglophone travel writing on Central Africa and the economic conditions of South Asian literature.

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


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. This research has contributed to the monograph State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945, which examines the changing justifications for state literary support in Britain. Across six chapters on British Council, the Arts Council, the Rushdie Affair, the GCSE curriculum and the UK Committee for UNESCO, I argue that beliefs about who constituted literature’s ‘public’ were radically challenged by the unrivalled migration to Britain at the end of Empire.

Methodologically, my research emphasises the archive-based study of literary and cultural institutions, cultural policy, and organizations as definitive forces in literary history. Future research projects will address 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. In recent years this has included presentations on black British writing and the Arts Council at the University of Stockholm (‘Presumed Autonomy: Literature and the Arts in Theory and Practice’), on Amnesty International and the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s support for Transition magazine in Uganda (‘Writers, Rights, Institutions’, University of Oxford), and on state literary subsidy in relation to the value of literary studies (‘English: Shared Futures’). 

I am a committee member of the Centre for Contemporary Literature and Culture.

Recent events I’ve curated for the Centre include Nikesh Shukla: In Conversation and ‘Burdens of Representation? Contemporary theatre by minority artists in Britain’ 


  • State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945 (forthcoming with OUP, 2019)
  • 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, 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, 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, 2017)
  • ‘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.
  • ‘Reading the Marketplace: Aravind Adiga’s recent fiction’, IUP Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol 3 no. 1, 2011, pp. 7-20. 

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