Sam Coombes

Senior Lecturer


Sam Coombes is Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh University, having previously taught at Paris 10 Nanterre University (2001-7). Following a state school education in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, an undergraduate joint degree in Philosophy and French (1994-8) at New College, Oxford University, and a Masters (1998-9), he did a doctorate (D.Phil) at Wadham College, Oxford, supervised by Prof. Christina Howells.  He spent 2000-1 studying at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d'Ulm, in Paris. He is an associated member of the CREW (Centre for Research on the English-Speaking World) and the CREC (Centre de Recherche en Civilisation Britannique) at Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle.

He spent the second semester of 2018-19 as a Visiting Professor in the department of comparative studies at Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle University. 

He is co-founder of the Diaspolinks international research network which is dedicated to comparative (to date francophone and anglophone) research in the field of diaspora studies. Website: 

Sam has worked extensively in the fields of political and cultural studies, the history of ideas and postcolonial studies, all with an increasing anglophone-francophone comparative focus. Since completing The Early Sartre and Marxism (Lang, 2008), postcolonial and political thought became a central focus of his research, as has more recently an interest in diasporic immigrant communities in France and Britain.  He has published widely on these subjects in both anglophone and French refereed journals. His monograph Edouard Glissant A Poetics of Resistance (Bloomsbury, 2018) relates contemporary postcolonial theory to anglophone alter-globalization theory. Most recently, he co-guest edited a Special Issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Taylor&Francis/Routledge) devoted to publishing in article form papers which were presented at the diaspora studies seminar series he initiated and coordinated at Edinburgh University's Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH). This  Special Issue is entitled 'Diasporic Trajectories: charting new critical perspectives' (JPW, volume 55, no. 6, December 2019).

Sam is committed to a future reinstatement of the project to ensure full access to higher education for all British state school students.

Sam is more than sceptical about Brexit and has since 2015 felt embarrassed by the English government's approach to and handling of this issue.  

Sam is on the editorial board of the online journal the Literary Encyclopedia. 

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • 2016: Department of European Languages and Cultures Head of the Teaching Office
  • 2011 to present: Year Abroad Erasmus Coordinator
  • 2014: 1B (1st yr group) Course Organiser
  • 2013: PGCertAP and FHEA
  • From September 2010-12: MSc in European Studies course coordinator.
  • 2011-13: DELC Representative on the Board of Studies
  • 2010-11: 1B Language Coordinator and FLA Coordiantor

Undergraduate teaching

Final-year specialist option courses in: 'Postcolonial Studies'; 'Twentieth-Century Political Thought'; and 'Sartre'

Postgraduate teaching

Teaching, dissertation supervision and examining for the MSc in European Studies, the MSc in Transatlanticism and the MSc in Translation Studies.

Research summary

Sam Coombes’ main research interests lie in the fields of British and French cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and comparative British/anglophone-French/francophone perspectives in these fields.

Requests for PhD supervision in these fields of research are welcomed.

The ' Diasporic Trajectories: Transnational Cultures in the 21st Century' seminar series at IASH, 2015.

Project activity

Sam Coombes is a member of:

  • The UK Postcolonial Studies Association
  • The SAES (France)
  • ‘Lecture de la théorie/Théorie de la lecture’ research group (Paris X)
  • He is associated member of the CREW (Centre for Research on the English-Speaking World) and the CREC (Centre deRecherches en Civilisation Britannique) at the University of Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle

View all 36 publications on Research Explorer