Dr Sarah Cefai

Staff details

Position Lecturer in Gender, Sexuality and Cultural Studies
Email s.cefai (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Sarah Cefai

Sarah is a feminist cultural theorist whose work examines questions of cultural experience, identity and belonging. She has an MA (hons) in Geography from the University of Edinburgh (2002), an MSc in Gender from the London School of Economics (2005), and was awarded her PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies by the University of Sydney (2012).

Sarah has published essays on feminism, whiteness, lesbian sexuality, intimacy, and hook-up culture. Affiliated with Affect Studies and working with critical immanent approaches, she is especially interested in the relationship between cultural form, experimental and other modes of writing, and the state of the world as expressed by cultural politics. Sarah joined MCCS in 2019, having worked previously at LSE, the University of Surrey and the London College of Communication.

Image credit: Julien Martinez Leclerc / LCC



Co-Convenor BA Media and Communications

Contemporary Feminist Media Cultures (module convenor)

Culture, Society and the Individual (module convenor)

Doing Cultural Studies (contributing lecturer)

TV and After (contributing lecturer)

Moving Image and Spectatorship (contributing lecturer)

Areas of supervision

Sarah welcomes applications from prospective PhD candidates who are interested in developing projects in the following areas:

  • Affect Studies
  • Cultural Studies and Cultural Theory
  • Ecology, Geography & the Environmental Humanities
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Intimacy
  • Radical Philosophy, Epistemology and Methodology

Publications and research outputs


Cefai, Sarah. 2023. Lauren Berlant on Genre. Media Theory, 7(2), pp. 267-284. ISSN 2557-826X

Cefai, Sarah. 2023. Consent-deception: A feminist cultural media theory of commonsense consent. Feminist Theory, ISSN 1464-7001

Cefai, Sarah. 2020. Humiliation's Media Cultures: On the Power of the Social to Oblige Us. New Media & Society, 22(7), pp. 1287-1304. ISSN 1461-4448

Cefai, Sarah and Couldry, Nick. 2019. Mediating the Presence of Others: Reconceptualising Co-Presence as Mediated Intimacy. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(3), pp. 291-308. ISSN 1367-5494

Cefai, Sarah. 2018. The Humiliation of 'Sex with Optimism': Fieldnotes from Tinder. Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry, 1(3), pp. 104-122.

Cefai, Sarah. 2018. Mediating affect in John Pilger’s Utopia: ‘the good life’ as a structure of whiteness. Cultural Studies, 32(1), pp. 126-148. ISSN 0950-2386

Cefai, Sarah. 2017. Introduction: Mediating Affect. Cultural Studies, 32(1), pp. 1-17. ISSN 0950-2386

Cefai, Sarah. 2015. Policing Aboriginality in Aboriginal policing: cultural labour and policing policy. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2015(1), pp. 12-29. ISSN 0729-4352

Cefai, Sarah. 2015. Love’s lesbian refrain of feeling: “Bette and Tina” and the subversion of heterosexual affect. Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge(28),

Cefai, Sarah. 2014. The Lesbian Intimate: Capacities for Feeling in Convergent Media Contexts. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 11(1), pp. 237-253. ISSN 1749-8716

Cefai, Sarah. 2014. Feeling and the Production of Lesbian Space in The L Word. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 21(5), pp. 650-665. ISSN 0966-369X

Cefai, Sarah. 2013. Cartographies of Belonging: The Marketisation of Desire through Media, Practice and Place. Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 21(5), pp. 582-588. ISSN 0966-369X

Cefai, Sarah. 2013. Getting Emotional After Sex: Tendencies in Queer Studies. Somatechnics, 3(1), pp. 190-206. ISSN 2044-0138

Cefai, Sarah. 2011. Unhappy Families. Cultural Studies Review, 17(1), pp. 339-348. ISSN 1446-8123

Cefai, Sarah and Elena, Indelicato Maria. 2010. No Such Thing as Standard Beauty: Intersectionality and Embodied Feeling on America's Next Top Model. Outskirts: Feminisms Along the Edge, 24, ISSN 1445-0445

Cefai, Sarah. 2010. Up Close and Personal, But Not Close Enough. Cultural Studies Review, 16(1), pp. 273-278. ISSN 1446-8123

Book Section

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. Feminist Aesthetics of Resistance. In: Todd W. Reeser, ed. The Routledge Companion to Gender and Affect. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 227-236. ISBN 9780367492014

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. Exit Wounds of Feminist Theory. In: Joanna Zylinska, ed. The Future of Media. London: Goldsmiths Press, pp. 157-174. ISBN 9781913380144

Cefai, Sarah. 2020. Contemporary Feminist Media Cultures. In: Karen Ross, ed. The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 9781119429104

Cefai, Sarah. 2015. The Critical Feelings of Audre Lorde, from the Standpoint of an Academic Minor. In: Stella Bolaki and Sabine Broeck, eds. Audre Lorde's Transnational Legacies. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, pp. 193-206. ISBN 9781625341396

Cefai, Sarah. 2004. Navigating Silences, Disavowing Femininity and the Construction of Lesbian Identities. In: , ed. Geography and Gender Reconsidered. Women and Geography Study Group, pp. 108-117.

Conference or Workshop Item

Cefai, Sarah. 2023. 'Trust, Mistrust and AI: Intimacy, Consent, Affect'. In: Trust, Mistrust and AI: Intimacy, Consent, Affect. University of New South Wales, Australia.

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Consent-Deception in the Hyper-Aesthetic Present: A Feminist Cultural Media Theory of Commonsense Consent'. In: Postdigital Intimacies and the Networked Public-Private. Coventry University, United Kingdom 24 - 25 November 2022.

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Aesthetics of consent: Reflections on the illiberal freedoms of consent culture'. In: Gender, Digital Culture and Consent. University of Queensland, Australia 14 July 2022.

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Workshopping Consent’s Data Cultures'. In: Gender, Digital Culture and Consent. University of Queensland, Australia 14 July 2022.

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Tracking the con in con-sent: Reflections on the hyper-aesthetics of sex in consent culture'. In: Bodies in Flux. Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference. Edith Cowan University, Australia 28-30 June 2022.

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Is consent a retroactive formation? Temporalising consent in contemporary feminist culture'. In: Console-ing Passions 2022. Panel "Sex, Consent and Intimacy". University of Central Florida, United States 23-25 June 2022.

Cefai, Sarah; Dymock, Alex and Serisier, Tanya. 2022. 'Is Consent Good for Women? A Feminist Symposium on Consent Culture'. In: Is Consent Good for Women? A Feminist Symposium on Consent Culture. Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom 17 June 2022.

Cefai, Sarah. 2021. 'Content after content warnings: Notes on the trigger'. In: Digital Intimacies #7. University of Queensland, Australia 6-7 December 2021.

Cefai, Sarah; Bandinelli, Caroline and Dominic, Pettman. 2021. 'Posthuman Eros'. In: Posthuman Eros, with Dominic Pettman in conversation with Sarah Cefai. Summer of Love, seminar series. Centre for Digital Inquiry, University of Warwick, United Kingdom 16 September 2021.

Cefai, Sarah. 2019. 'Humiliation and the affective obligation of the social: Putting the social back into social media'. In: Understanding the Social in a Digital Age: An Interdisciplinary One Day Conference on Technology, Media, and the Social. University of East Anglia, United Kingdom 8 January 2019.

Cefai, Sarah. 2018. 'Stupid in the Moment: Excavating the Patriarchal Nonconscious of Humiliation'. In: Affect & Social Media #4. University of East London, United Kingdom 7 November 2018.

Cefai, Sarah. 2011. 'The Racialisation of Feeling in the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Australia: Anger and Aboriginal Contact with the Law'. In: Directions and Intersections: Proceedings of the 2011 Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and Indigenous Studies Research Network Joint Conference. Surfers Paradise, Australia 7-9 December 2011.

Edited Journal

Cefai, Sarah, ed. 2018. Mediating Affect, Cultural Studies, 32(1). 0950-2386

Cefai, Sarah, ed. 2014. Cartographies of Belonging: The Marketisation of Desire Through Media, Practice and Place, Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 21(5). 0966-369X


Cefai, Sarah. 2018. Feminist Aesthetics of Consent: Stories, Genres, Politics.


Cefai, Sarah and Couldry, Nick. 2016. Analysing 'Media Lives': Time, Change and Dynamics of Media Literacy. Documentation. London School of Economics, London.


Cefai, Sarah. 2022. The Flood. UNDEFINED.