Fariha Shaikh


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome proposals from students around the world which focus on the long nineteenth century, world literature, migration, textual and material culture, mobilities, race and racial science, decolonisation, postcolonial Victorians/neo-Victorians.

I have supervised projects on race, affect and emotions in eighteenth-century abolition literature, on the New Woman in vernacular (Kannada) South Indian literature, and on women novelists in the Victorian and late-Ottoman eras.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I came to Birmingham in 2017, following a two-year Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at University College Dublin. My postdoc gave me the time and resources I needed to publish my first monograph, Nineteenth-Century Settler Emigration in British Literature and Art with Edinburgh University Press in 2018. During the postdoctoral fellowship, I was also seconded to the Irish Research Council, where I gained valuable insight into the research landscape of Ireland. I received my PhD from King’s College London, where I also completed the Associateship of King’s College, the institution’s original award dating back to its foundation in 1829. My undergraduate years were spent at Queen Mary, University of London.  

Research interests

Broadly speaking, I am a scholar of Victorian literature and culture, and its intersections with the British Empire. My first project examined the ways in which nineteenth-century settler colonialism can be understood as a textual artefact: examining the huge textual output that was necessary to promote and support settler colonial emigration to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, my book proposes the emergence of a new genre of ‘emigration literature’ in the nineteenth century.

My current work focusses on what we mean by ‘global’ Victorians and the remit of ‘world literature’. I am interested in uncovering marginal and lesser-studied voices from Britain and its in/formal colonies to demonstrate the ways in which Britain’s multifarious experiments in in/formal empires in the nineteenth century impacted the formation and development of literature, and the legacies that these tensions have left behind today. I am interested in comparative, postcolonial and decolonial approaches to the study of the period, and these approaches inform my teaching too.

I have a passion for disseminating my research and knowledge of the nineteenth century to a broader public. I have worked with the National Trust and the Migration Museum, taken part in the Being Human Festival, and appeared on television (BBC Two and Channel 4) and on radio (BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4). I am a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker.

I have published in the Journal of Victorian Literature, and English Studies in South Africa, and have contributed to Worlding the South (Manchester University Press, 2021), and Palgrave Encyclopaedia of Victorian Women’s Writing (2020). I have work forthcoming in Intersections (forthcoming 2024), Edinburgh Companion to British Colonial Periodicals (forthcoming 2024), and Bloomsbury’s Cultural History of Violence in the Age of Empire (forthcoming 2024), amongst others. I am the co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Global Victorian Literature and Culture (forthcoming 2025), and the current co-editor of the CUP-owned journal Victorian Literature and Culture

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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