Dr Rita Sakr

Staff details

PositionLecturer in World Literature
Email r.sakr (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7919 7443

After completing an interdisciplinary PhD in English Studies at the University of Nottingham in 2009 and then a post-doctoral British Academy/AHRC/ESRC research scholarship at the University of Kent in 2010, Dr Rita Sakr took up a visiting lectureship at University College Dublin followed by a 2-year Research Associate position on the Research Councils UK ‘Partnership for Conflict, Crime, and Security Research’ programme (Kent). Before joining the ECL department at Goldsmiths, Rita was postdoctoral fellow at the Orient Institut Beirut of the Max Weber Foundation.

Rita is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) and is an editor of the Middle-Eastern and Arab sections of the Literary Encyclopedia. She is author of two monographs, co-editor of two volumes of essays, and co-director/co-producer of a documentary film (see Research Interests).


Rita’s modules include:

  • Contemporary Arab Migrant Writing (2nd year UG)
  • Contemporary African Migration in Literature and Film: Mediating Human Rights (3rd year UG)
  • The Post-Imperial City in Literature and Film (MA)
  • Rita also teaches on ‘Explorations in Literature’ and ‘Approaches to Text'

Areas of supervision

Rita welcomes applications on world literature; postcolonialism; Middle Eastern and Mediterranean studies with special focus on Arab literature and geographies; migrant writings; human rights in literature; cultural and literary geography; urban studies; Lebanese studies (literature, culture, and urbanism); contemporary Turkish literature (especially Orhan Pamuk); media and conflict.

Rita is currently main supervisor of the following PhD projects: The Poetics and Politics of the Arab-British Female Bildungsroman: Postcolonialism in Question.  Re-imagining Counter-Discourse: Investigating the Production of Space and its Subversive Functions in Contemporary Lebanese Literature.



Research Interests

Dr Rita Sakr's research interests span the fields of postcolonial and Arab literatures in a world-literary context, memory and monument studies, cultural geography and spatial theory, urban studies, migrant writings and human rights, transnational literary geography, translation, and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean studies.

Besides journal and book contributions, she has published two monographs and two co-edited volumes on these topics:

  • ‘Anticipating’ the 2011 Arab Uprisings: Revolutionary Literatures and Political Geographies. (Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
  • Monumental Space in the Post-Imperial Novel: An Interdisciplinary Study. (London and New York: Continuum, 2012). Re-issued in paperback (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013)
  • The Ethics of Representation in Literature, Journalism and Art: Transnational Responses to the Siege of Beirut. Edited by Caroline Rooney and Rita Sakr. (London and New York: Routledge, 2013). Also completed an Arabic translation
  • Joyce and the Nineteenth-Century French Novel. Edited by Finn Fordham and Rita Sakr. (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2011)

Dr Rita Sakr is also co-director and co- producer (with Caroline Rooney) of “White Flags”, a 47-minute documentary film on conflict, peacebuilding endeavours, and urbanism in Lebanon. Through RCUK funding, it was produced in collaboration with Media Trust, London and was screened in several venues including: Being Human festival, Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA), London; Freud Museum, London; World Poetry Day Festival, Nicosia; Mansion, Beirut.

Dr Rita Sakr is currently working on two projects. The first aims to expand the cutting-edge field of literary geography or geocriticism to engage with Arabic literature and the Arab world from the nineteenth century to the present moment of uprisings and upheavals. In this context, she is currently in the early stages of researching her third monograph: Global Arab Literary Geographies. She started the second project at the Orient Institut Beirut where she completed a first phase of archival research. It constructs a cultural geography of Beirut between 1858 and 1876 as ‘a city of the world’ that defines itself both through its material instantiation in mechanisms of technical modernization and the built environment and as an immaterial product of cultural imagining. The project investigates a ‘crisis of representation’ with respect to Beirut both in relation to the-mid-nineteenth-century historical period of geopolitical crisis, migration and interventionism, and our contemporary moment of interpretation.

Forthcoming publications include:

'Expanding the Space of Human Rights in Literature, Reclaiming Literature as a Human Right: Rawi Hage's Cockroach and Carnival.' Beirut to Carnival City: Reading Rawi Hage. Ed. Krzysztof Majer (Waterloo,ON: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2018).

'Heterotopia and its Discontents: Exploring Spatial, Social, and Textual Liminality in Rawi Hage's Cockroach.' Contested Spaces, Counter-narratives, and Culture from Below: Reading Space through Conflict. Ed. Roxanne Rimstead and Domenic A.Beneventi (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2018).