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Claire Chambers joined the Department in October 2012 as Lecturer in Global Literature and Convenor of the MA in Global Literature and Culture. Before that, she worked for eight years as a senior lecturer in the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University, and for a further four years as a part-time lecturer at Leeds Beckett and the University of Leeds while writing her doctoral thesis. She studied for her undergraduate degree at Newcastle University and completed her MA and PhD at the University of Leeds.
Claire is the author of Britain Through Muslim Eyes: Literary Representations, 1780−1989 (2015) and British Muslim Fictions: Interviews with Contemporary Writers (2011), and editor (with Caroline Herbert) of Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: Secularism, Religion, Representations. Not only is she known for her writing on literary representations of Muslims in Britain and South Asia, but also for her work on the Bengali writer Amitav Ghosh and other South Asian writers. She has published widely in such journals as Postcolonial Text, Contemporary Women’s Writing, and the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and is editor (with Rachael Gilmour) of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Claire’s research has been supported by grants from HEFCE, the AHRC, and the British Academy.
Her interest in the literature of the Indian subcontinent and ‘the Muslim world’ was sparked by the year she spent prior to university teaching in Peshawar, Pakistan. It continues to be informed by return visits to the region, and by public engagement work with diasporic communities.
Claire is an expert in contemporary South Asian literature written in English and literary representations of British Muslims. Her new monograph, Britain Through Muslim Eyes, traces the development of artistic depictions of Muslims in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present day. She is currently working on its partner volume, Muslim Representations of Britain, 1988−Present.
The first volume in this series, British Muslim Fictions is now in its second edition, and has received positive reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and the Pakistani national newspapers The Friday Times and Dawn.
Another book, co-edited with Caroline Herbert and entitled Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: Secularism, Religion, Representations, was published by Routledge in 2014.
Claire has wide experience of supervising undergraduates and postgraduates writing dissertations on South Asian, postcolonial and British migrant literatures. She welcomes research students interested in many areas of contemporary literature, especially topics related to fiction from South Asia and its diaspora, ‘the Muslim world’, and multicultural Britain.
Claire Chambers is the Department of English and Related Literature’s Impact and External Engagement Officer.
She is Editor (with Susan Watkins) of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Claire is a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College and is on many advisory boards including those Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, NUML: Journal of Critical Inquiry, Islamabad, and the new Rodopi book series Postcolonial Lives. Previously, she was Vice Chair of the Postcolonial Studies Association and worked as a subject editor for the ‘Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka’ section of The Year’s Work in English Studies.
In addition to being one of Times Higher Education’s scholar-reviewers and a blogger on culture for the Huffington Post, she writes book reviews for such journals as Wasafiri, Contemporary South Asia, Feminist Theory, and Moving Worlds. She is a literary columnist for Dawn and 3 Quarks Daily.
She is a Project Partner in Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue, an international multidisciplinary network of scholars, practitioners and stakeholders, which seeks to explore questions of trust in the relationship between Muslim diaspora populations in the West and the societies around them. The project is supported by RCUK Global Uncertainties, and the Principal Investigator is Professor Peter Morey of the University of East London, from where the project is run.
Claire is also one of six founding scholars (with Rehana Ahmed, Anshuman A. Mondal, Stephen Morton, Peter Morey, and Amina Yaqin) in the research group Multicultural Textualities. This group investigates whether multiculturalism may be seen to have failed, and whether liberalism can negotiate the needs and differences of non-white, non-Christian/secular citizens.
In 2014, Claire worked as a consultant on the Radio 4 documentary First There Was the Word, about Muslims and publishing in Britain. She has also spoken on Radio Asian Fever and BBC Radio Manchester, and has participated in such festivals as Ilkley, Edinburgh, Karachi, and Bradford Literature Festivals.