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Ananya Jahanara Kabir

Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir

Professor of English Literature

Research interests

  • Literature

Biography

Ananya Jahanara Kabir is Professor of English Literature at King’s College London. She researches the intersection of the written text with other forms of cultural expression within acts of collective memorialization and forgetting.

Through an ERC Advanced Grant (2013-2018), she led ‘Modern Moves’, an interdisciplinary investigation into African-heritage social dance and music. For her innovative work in the Humanities, she received the Infosys Humanities Prize (2018), awarded by the Infosys Science Foundation, India, and  the Humboldt Forschungspreis (Humboldt Prize, 2018), awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Germany.

She is currently writing ‘Alegropolitics: Connecting on the Afromodern Dance Floor.’ Her new research projects explore further the concepts of transoceanic creolization through cultural production across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. She loves the challenge of working across languages and genres. The role of pleasure in inflecting the politics of cultural production remains a long-standing interest through various specialisations she has undertaken, from the medieval to the postcolonial periods.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Conflict, culture, creativity, and heritage; creolisation
  • Relationship between the written text and non-textual cultural production, including: dance; music and music notation; visual and plastic art; film.
  • Memory Studies, including comparative approaches between South Asian and other areas; the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean
  • South Asian Literary and cultural production, especially relating to the Partition of India and the Kashmir conflict
  • Medievalism and postcolonialism

Professor Kabir has supervised successfully numerous PhDs who are now placed in institutions worldwide. She welcomes unconventional research plans that want to cross languages, genres, and periods, and theoretical orthodoxies. She is happy to help shape PhD projects that work with languages other than English: especially French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Bengali, and Creoles, and has supervised theses using French, Spanish, Bengali, Assamese, and Siraiki. Projects must be interested above all in unpacking the pleasures, protocols, and politics of literary texts.

For more details, please see her full research profile.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Drawing on her research and outreach work as director of Modern Moves, Professor Kabir regularly gives seminars and workshops at dance festivals worldwide and collaborates with festival organisers to shape the research element of their productions.

In Berlin, she is engaging with curatorial programming delivered at several high profile cultural instiutions, including the House of World Cultures and SAVVY Contemporary.

She has appeared on radio and TV nationally and internationally to speak on a range of subjects within my expertise, from the Kashmir conflict to the pleasures of texts about maroons and pirates.

One of her most memorable aspects of public engagement has been acting as cultural consultant for Mattel, Inc., one of the world’s largest producers of children’s toys, on the new series of their television programme Thomas and Friends, set in India.

Teaching

Professor Kabir teaches modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels that cross-cut historical periods and geographic spaces, and make students think harder about how literary production intersects with the big picture through the history and politics of colonialism, postcolonialism, slavery, neoliberal politics. Her modules are always research-led, which means that she updates her teaching to reflect shifts in her research agenda. In the past, therefore, she has offered modules on the Partition of India, writing from Pakistan, and the Kashmir conflict; more recently, her modules involve pirates and sugar plantations.

Selected publications

  • Dance and Decolonization in Africa, co-edited with Elina Djebbari, special issue of Journal of African Cultural Studies 41.4 (2019)
  • Partition’s Post-Amnesias: 1947, 1971 and Modern South Asia (Women Unlimited, Delhi, 2013, and University Press, Dhaka, 2014)
  • Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir (University of Minnesota Press, 2009; Permanent Black, Delhi, 2009). Shortlisted for the 2010 European Society for Studies in English Prize
  • Debating the Afropolitan, co-edited with Emilia María Durán-Almarza and Carla Rodríguez González (Routledge, 2018)
  • Postcolonial Approaches to the European Middle Ages: Translating Cultures, co-edited with Deanne Williams (Cambridge University Press, 2005; paperback re-issue 2010)

    Research

    KBI Cathedral of Brasília, Brazil
    Culture, society and identities

    This research group analyses Brazilian culture and how class, regional, gender, racial and ethnic identities are expressed

    News

    King's researchers elected new Fellows of The British Academy

    The British Academy has elected five new Fellows from King’s College London.

    British Academy Fellows

    Arts & Humanities 2023 Institute Fellows announced

    The inaugural Institute Fellows have been selected to pursue cross-disciplinary work within the new Digital Futures Institute or Global Cultures Institute.

    GCIDFI Blend

    Professor Ananya Kabir awarded 2017 Infosys Prize for Humanities

    Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir has received the prestigious 2017 Infosys Prize for Humanities

    Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir

    Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir wins Humboldt Research Award

    This prestigious award is conferred in recognition of the winner's entire academic record to date.

    Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir and Professor Hans-Christian Pape

    Events

    11Jun240611 Dr Priyanka Basu book launch

    Book Launch - The Poet’s Song: 'Folk' and its Cultural Politics in South Asia

    Dr Priyanka Basu launches her new book on the South Asian verse-duelling genre of Kobigaan.

    13MarArchipelagic Luca

    Researching Indian Ocean Literary Archipelagos: Theory, Methodology and Practice

    This talk presents research on literary and cultural practices in archipelagic spaces of the Western Indian Ocean.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    02FebGCI Creolisation in a global frame

    Creolisation in a global frame: Connecting the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds

    A panel discussion with Professors Manuela Boatcă, (University of Freiburg), Hugo Cardoso (University of Lisbon) and Ananya Kabir (King’s College London).

    Please note: this event has passed.

    31MarAn aerial view of an island in Lakshadweep.

    Island Registers: Languages of Transactions in Lakshadweep

    A part of the seminar on the theme of ‘Archipelagic Indias’.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    10MarAndaman beach

    Silence and Water: Andaman Islands in recent Indian novels

    A part of the seminar on the theme of ‘Archipelagic Indias’.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    18NovAndaman Islands beach

    Fiction and forgotten histories of the Andaman Islands

    This event will explore the fiction and forgotten histories of the Andaman Islands

    Please note: this event has passed.

    09DecIndian Ocean and clouds

    On the edge: island, indigeneity and geo-ontologies in Lakshadweep media imaginaries

    This event will explore the Archipelagic Indias in the frame of the IATIO project

    Please note: this event has passed.

    15OctIndian ocean island

    Thinnai fête: book launch of Ari Gautier’s Nocturne Pondichéry and The Thinnai

    A book launch of Ari Gautier's new short story collection and second novel’s English translation, with panel discussion and Q&A.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    Features

    The Angolan dancers who helped South African anthem Jerusalema go global

    In February the Angolan dance troupe Fenómenos do Semba created the viral #JerusalemaDanceChallenge video that showed off their dance moves to the South...

    Angolan dance troupe Fenómenos do Semba. Courtesy Adilson Maiza for Fenómenos do Semba

      Research

      KBI Cathedral of Brasília, Brazil
      Culture, society and identities

      This research group analyses Brazilian culture and how class, regional, gender, racial and ethnic identities are expressed

      News

      King's researchers elected new Fellows of The British Academy

      The British Academy has elected five new Fellows from King’s College London.

      British Academy Fellows

      Arts & Humanities 2023 Institute Fellows announced

      The inaugural Institute Fellows have been selected to pursue cross-disciplinary work within the new Digital Futures Institute or Global Cultures Institute.

      GCIDFI Blend

      Professor Ananya Kabir awarded 2017 Infosys Prize for Humanities

      Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir has received the prestigious 2017 Infosys Prize for Humanities

      Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir

      Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir wins Humboldt Research Award

      This prestigious award is conferred in recognition of the winner's entire academic record to date.

      Professor Ananya Jahanara Kabir and Professor Hans-Christian Pape

      Events

      11Jun240611 Dr Priyanka Basu book launch

      Book Launch - The Poet’s Song: 'Folk' and its Cultural Politics in South Asia

      Dr Priyanka Basu launches her new book on the South Asian verse-duelling genre of Kobigaan.

      13MarArchipelagic Luca

      Researching Indian Ocean Literary Archipelagos: Theory, Methodology and Practice

      This talk presents research on literary and cultural practices in archipelagic spaces of the Western Indian Ocean.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      02FebGCI Creolisation in a global frame

      Creolisation in a global frame: Connecting the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds

      A panel discussion with Professors Manuela Boatcă, (University of Freiburg), Hugo Cardoso (University of Lisbon) and Ananya Kabir (King’s College London).

      Please note: this event has passed.

      31MarAn aerial view of an island in Lakshadweep.

      Island Registers: Languages of Transactions in Lakshadweep

      A part of the seminar on the theme of ‘Archipelagic Indias’.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      10MarAndaman beach

      Silence and Water: Andaman Islands in recent Indian novels

      A part of the seminar on the theme of ‘Archipelagic Indias’.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      18NovAndaman Islands beach

      Fiction and forgotten histories of the Andaman Islands

      This event will explore the fiction and forgotten histories of the Andaman Islands

      Please note: this event has passed.

      09DecIndian Ocean and clouds

      On the edge: island, indigeneity and geo-ontologies in Lakshadweep media imaginaries

      This event will explore the Archipelagic Indias in the frame of the IATIO project

      Please note: this event has passed.

      15OctIndian ocean island

      Thinnai fête: book launch of Ari Gautier’s Nocturne Pondichéry and The Thinnai

      A book launch of Ari Gautier's new short story collection and second novel’s English translation, with panel discussion and Q&A.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      Features

      The Angolan dancers who helped South African anthem Jerusalema go global

      In February the Angolan dance troupe Fenómenos do Semba created the viral #JerusalemaDanceChallenge video that showed off their dance moves to the South...

      Angolan dance troupe Fenómenos do Semba. Courtesy Adilson Maiza for Fenómenos do Semba