Sheelalipi Sahana

Thesis title: Gendered Spaces in Modern India


I am from Santiniketan, India. I completed my undergraduate degree in English literature with honours from Christ University, Bangalore, India. I went on to do my Master's in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh. I worked briefly as an English teacher in Hong Kong before returning to Edinburgh to pursue a doctorate focusing on spatial modernity in South Asian Muslim Women's Writing.


Responsibilities & affiliations

I run the Edinburgh Postcolonial Studies Reading Group, and am part of Tasavvur Collective which hosts symposiums and conferences annually. 

I work as a Senior Peer Support Leader and oversee UG peer support schemes in LLC.

I am also a Resident Assistant with ResLife. 

Research summary

I work primarily on gendered modernities and postcolonial subjectivities.

My doctoral thesis looks at architectural spaces, private and public, that Muslim women occupied in 20th century India, and their impact on the realization of identities. I am working on writers part of and influenced by the Progressive Writers Association, such as Ismat Chughtai, Attia Hosain, Khadija Mastur, etc. My texts are mostly in translation from Urdu to English. 

My work aims to entangle further the relationship between gender and space, to reveal a distinct spatial-temporal identity of the Muslim Woman of Modern India.

Past research interests

I have previously worked on material agency as a tool operated by women in the domestic sphere.

Conference details

  • "Train Travel as a Site for Unravelling Hegemonic Modernity", at the 'Women in World(-)Literature' conference, University of Warwick, 2022 (upcoming).
  • "Negative Agency and Negotiating Power in Muslim Women's Travel Narratives", at the 'Contested Solidarities' GAPS conference, Goethe University, Frankfurt, 2022 (upcoming).
  • “Train Travel as a Site for Encountering Modernity”, Postcolonial Narrations PG conference on ‘Modernities in the Contact Zone’, supported by GAPS (Association for Anglophone Studies), University of Potsdam, 2021.
  • “Destabilizing the Public/Private Dichotomy: Indian Muslim Women’s Writing”, delivered at the Moving the Centre: Towards Radical Futures conference, University of Glasgow, 2021.
  • “Aspects of Governmentality in Select Episodes of Black Mirror", delivered at the Synthesize: Interdisciplinary National Conference at Christ University, 2017.


As part of Tasavvur Collective, 'Writing Muslim Women in South Asia' symposium, The Universities of Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Exeter, 2022, online (upcoming).