2019 Convention Committee

Helen Cousins


I have been a member of the PSA since it was first set up in 2008 and was membership secretary from 2011 to 2014. My early research was in African Women’s Writing (the subject of my PhD) and my current research also includes Black British Writing. My recent publications have appeared in Research in African Literatures (49(2) (2018): 87-106) and African Literature Today where I co-edited (with Pauline Dodgson-Katiyo) a special issue on ‘Diaspora and Returns in Fiction’ (No. 34, 2016). I also contributed chapters to S. Ilott and C. Buckley (eds.) Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2017) and K. Andrews and L. Palmer (eds.) Blackness in Britain (Routledge, 2016). I am a founder member of the Black British Women Writers network (https://www.vub.ac.be/TALK/BBWW/) and have co-organised (with Elisabeth Bekers who set up the network) and contributed to several conference panels run from this network. I also work as a senior desk editor for the Literary Encyclopedia (https://www.litencyc.com/) on the Anglophone African Literatures and Cultures desk. ​

David Firth


I am a Research Fellow in English Literature at the University of Manchester, having won an AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship, to complete research and produce public engagement activities on the theme of ‘virtual reality as a form of postcolonial storytelling’. The research explores how immersive virtual experiences may encourage forms of ‘postcolonial empathy’ and foster new perspectives on difficult heritage and our shared colonial past. I am also currently completing my first monograph, Nadine Gordimer and the World-System: Apartheid as Racial Capitalism (forthcoming). The monograph is based on my doctoral research, which examined the work of South African writer Nadine Gordimer to consider how the form and content of her work allows readers to conceive of apartheid not simply as a system of racial segregation but as a form of ‘racial capitalism’. I have played a key role in raising the profile of postcolonial studies at Manchester. I worked for 2 years as Lead Organiser of the Manchester Postcolonial Studies Group, expanding the group’s membership and activities, leading the monthly reading group and running two annual series of the Postcolonial Atelier. I have also been the PSA Executive Secretary since 2017.

Giulia Champion

I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Warwick in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. My research focuses on postcolonial environmental studies and looks at literature from former British, French, Portuguese and Spanish colonies in most of the Caribbean and parts of Latin America and Africa, which aims to challenge the “colonial historical archive” by rewriting cultural productions through the technique of “literary cannibalism” theorised in a world-ecology framework. This is done by displacing cannibalism as an act of savagery projected onto former colonial people to use it to identify and expose the consumption and exploitation of people and land by European and North American imperial powers.

Karina Simonson 

I am a professional art historian, having recently successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, titled “Baltic Jewish Photographers in the Republic of South Africa (1930–1976): Leon Levson and Eli Weinberg,” at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute. My dissertation started interest between Lithuania (and Baltic Region) and South Africa, and a larger conversation of cultural exchange between two distinct geographic regions. My research is on the intersection between African Studies, Jewish Studies and Art History. I have also been instrumental in Lithuanian circles bringing African and African Diaspora history into the Lithuanian curriculum. For example, I am active as project manager of a non-profit research and consultancy centre AfriKo, which aims to actively develop cooperation between Lithuania and African countries in business, innovation and cultural areas. Also this fall at Vilnius University I will teach a first of its kind course in the Baltics on Africa and Asia encounters. I have been involved into PSA activities since 2018.

Ahmed Joudar

I am a Doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Szeged, Hungary, originally from Iraq. I obtained my BA in English language and literature from the University of Kufa, Iraq. I completed my M.A. in English literature, University of Shiats, India. My doctoral research is at the intersection of Postcolonial studies, Canadian literature, exile, migration, multiculturalism, and transcultural identity. In Canadian studies, I am especially interested in cross-cultural writers who could live in-between different cultures. I have been a member of the Postcolonial Studies Association since 2017 and served on the convention committee for the PSA Convention 2019.

Rabaha Arshad

Rabaha is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, UK where she completed a Masters in Children’s Literature and Literacies with Distinction. At present, she is working as lecturer at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Pakistan where she teaches English Language and Children’s Literature to undergraduate students. She has been associated with the PSA since 2014.