Asha Rogers


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

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.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


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. 

Research interests

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

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. 

Research interests

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:


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