Dr Sita Balani
Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Culture
Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2285
Address Department of English
King's College London
Room 7.32, Virginia Woolf Building
London WC2B 6LE
Office hours document available here
- Cultural Studies
- Contemporary Britain
- Postcolonial Theory
My research seeks to unpack the impact of imperial histories on contemporary culture. My PhD thesis, entitled ‘Identity After History: Desiring Authenticity in Contemporary British Culture’, coined the term ‘identity- talk’ – via Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘culture talk’ – to explore the legacies of imperialism within culture, community and identity in Britain today. Specifically, I argue that the constructs of race and sexuality formed through colonial science and Enlightenment philosophy continue to act as the unacknowledged foundation for contemporary ideas about the self. I show how this colonial legacy shapes Islamophobia, as well as other forms of racism. To make this claim, I bring together contemporary novels and plays with texts that are not as often considered in literary studies – reading Alan Hollinghurst in dialogue with British Asian misery memoirs, and exploring contemporary theatre by Chris Goode and Vinay Patel through close readings of David Cameron’s speeches. I posit that this approach shows the promiscuity of identity-talk and the ways it is deployed in the ‘War on Terror’. This research forms the basis of my first monograph. In addition, I am looking into the legacies of Black British feminism, through the publishing cooperative, Sheba Feminist Publishing.
I teach cultural studies and critical theory, with a particular focus on queer and postcolonial theory in a UK context.