SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

The SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) exists to promote the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies in relation to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Centre is housed in and administered by the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, but as a Centre dedicated to interdisciplinary study it draws its membership and intellectual diversity from across the SOAS community.

The SOAS CCLPS provides an administrative and intellectual home for the School’s MA Comparative Literature, MA Cultural Studies and MA Postcolonial Studies, as well as the MPhil/PhD programmes in these three disciplines, and our seminar series and other events draw in scholars from across and beyond these fields.

Membership of the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies is open to all academic staff and students at SOAS with an academic interest in the disciplines of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies.

Key Facts

Our Strengths

The CCLPS is an interdisciplinary Centre that combines Humanities and Social Sciences research methods and methodologies. It works closely with all members of staff in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, and the Department of East Asian Studies, and draws membership from across the academic schools and departments of SOAS.

The Centre places emphasis on the acquisition of critical theoretical skills and in-depth regional knowledge across disciplines.

Facts and Figures

  • Thriving research culture and packed schedule of conferences and seminars
  • Our Taught Master Degree Programmes in Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies are growing every year
  • Our PhD student community is fantastically diverse and active
  • We offer a truly international experience, with students from all over the world studying Comparative Literature alongside Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies with an in-depth regional knowledge across these disciplines. 
  • Members of the Centre and current research students work on an exceptionally wide range of topics, both theoretical and critical, promoting disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and teaching
  • We promote research on non-European cultures and literatures with the aim of reinvigorating and pioneering critical and theoretical debates relevant to  the regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Each year, a number of internationally-distinguished scholars join the Centre as Research Affiliates and Visiting Scholars
  • We have excellent collaboration with national and international universities and institutes
  • Our SOAS libraryhosts a variety of invaluable primary and secondary sources for the study of African, Asian and Middle Eastern history and cultures.

Postgraduate Student Profile

Neslie Carol Tan

MA Cultural Studies in SOAS is a course where I was forced to question my perceptions, reexamine my beliefs, and widen my (mental) map. What's even better is that all of these were done in an open-minded, scholarly atmosphere where nobody is an 'Other'. I truly appreciate and highly recommend the critical thrust of the course, the outstanding instruction and guidance of the lecturers/tutors, and the multicultural make-up of the class.

Neslie Carol Tan
MA in Cultural Studies

Contact Us

Professor Rachel V Harrison (

Tel +44 (0)20 7898 4247

Our Centre Chair Says

Rachel Harrison 2018

The CCLPS has been leading cutting-edge research on Asian, African and Middle Eastern cultures, literatures and languages through various projects that interest a large number of staff in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics and other SOAS Departments. Such discussions have been facilitated through seminars, workshops and international conferences organised regularly at the CCLPS and through joint PhD supervision and joint funding applications.

These projects include for example among others, the question of non-European epistemology and knowledge production and consumption in Asia, Africa and the Middle East; the formation of literary history, genres and canonicity in contexts beyond the West; the roles of popular cultures and the CCLPS flagship project on World Literature, which has placed SOAS on the map of world-leading institutions with its innovative and non-Eurocentric focus on Asian, African and Middle Eastern literatures. The CCLPS has benefited from its members’ valuable expertise in the languages and cultures of Asia, Africa and the Middle East; an expertise that attracts high calibre PhD applicants, visiting fellows and researchers.

The CCLPS has one of the best training courses for first year MPhil/PhD students; the weekly course is highly acclaimed by all of our students as it offers them a solid grounding in various research skills and methodologies. Moreover, our CCLPS PhD students gain fantastic professional experience every year as they organise our CCLPS Postgraduate Annual conference which attracts large Postgraduate communities within and outside SOAS.  They also benefit from attending and participating in our wide range of regular seminars, lectures and conferences.

Research Student Profile

Poonkulaly Gunaseelan

"One of the most useful aspects of the programme is the weekly training seminar, which is open to all MPhil CCLPS students. These sessions are designed to consider ‘key’ methodological and theoretical texts, to incite debate and reflection upon your own research. The reflective nature of these seminars has been invaluable to my project, as they have allowed me a responsive space to broaden, question and develop my research"

Poonkulaly Gunaseelan
MPhil/PhD Programme CCLPS


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.