Dr Sara Salem

Dr Sara Salem

Associate Professor

Department of Sociology

Room No
Connect with me

Arabic, Dutch, English
Key Expertise
Postcolonialism, Decolonization, Feminism, Middle East, Traveling theories

About me

Sara Salem's main research interests include political sociology, postcolonial studies, Marxist theory, feminist theory, and global histories of empire and imperialism. She is an editor at the journals Sociological Review and Historical Materialism.

Sara's work explores the connections between postcolonial theory and Marxism, with special attention to the context of Egypt and the period of decolonisation in the mid-twentieth century. She is particularly interested in questions of anticolonial archives, traveling theory, postcolonial/anti-colonial nationalism, and the afterlives and entanglements of empire in the Middle East.

Sara convenes the undergraduate course The Sociology of Race and Empire and the postgraduate course The Anticolonial Archive: The Sociology of Empire and its Afterlives, and teaches on the MSc program Human Rights and Politics.

Sara co-directs two projects, Disembodied Territories (with Menna Agha) and Archive Stories (with Mai Taha).

Sara's first book, entitled Anticolonial Afterlives in Egypt: The Politics of Hegemony, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. This book builds its analysis of the afterlives of Egypt’s moment of decolonisation through an imagined conversation between Antonio Gramsci and Frantz Fanon around questions of anticolonialism, resistance, revolution and liberation. Anticolonial Afterlives argues that the Nasserist project – created by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers in 1952 – remains the only instance of hegemony in modern Egyptian history, and that the 2011 revolution signified the end-point of its decline, decades after it was created. Nasserism was made possible in and through local, regional and global anticolonial politics, even as it reproduced colonial ways of governing that reverberate into Egypt’s present. Anticolonial Afterlives explores these tensions through Gramsci and Fanon, foundational theorists of anti-capitalism and anticolonialism, and in doing so engages with some of the problematics around applying Gramsci’s thought in contexts such as Egypt and thinking about Fanon’s writing in relation to anticolonialism today.

Her second book project, tentatively entitled Anticolonial Archives, explores the possibilities and tensions embedded within the question of archives and archiving anticolonial pasts, presents and futures.


[Co-edited special issue. Salem, S., Sajed, A. 2023. Anticolonial Feminist Imaginaries. A special issue for Kohl journal.

Salem, S. 2023. Intersectionality and its Discontents: Intersectionality as Traveling Theory, in Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader, J Solomos, ed., 3rd ed, Routledge.

Salem, S. 2023. Frantz Fanon, in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, J Solomos, ed., Routledge.

Salem, S. 2022. Angela Davis in Egypt: On Transnational Feminism, in Transnational Solidarity: Decentring the Radical Sixties, Z. Maasri, C. Bergin, and F. Burke, eds., Manchester University Press.

Salem, S., 2021. (Anticolonial) Revolution as a Felt Archive. Centre d'études et de documentation économiques, juridiques et sociales (in production). 

Salem, S., 2021. Gramsci in the postcolony: hegemony and anticolonialism in Nasserist Egypt. Theory, Culture and Society, 38(1), pp.79-99

Salem, S. and Manchanda, N., 2020. Empire’s h(a)unting grounds: Theorising violence and resistance in Egypt and Afghanistan. Current Sociology, 68(2), pp.241-262.

Salem, S., 2020. Sonallah Ibrahim and Miriam Naoum’s Zaat: Deploying the Domestic in Representations of Egyptian Politics. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, 16(1), pp.19-40.

Salem, S., 2020. Fanon in the postcolonial Mediterranean: Sovereignty and agency in neoliberal Egypt. Interventions, pp.1-19.

Salem, S. and Taha, M., 2019. Social reproduction and empire in an Egyptian century. Radical Philosophy, 2, pp.47-54.

Salem, S., 2019. ‘Stretching’ Marxism in the Postcolonial World: Egyptian Decolonisation and the Contradictions of National Sovereignty. Historical Materialism, 27(4), pp.3-28.

Salem, S., 2019. Haunted histories: Nasserism and the promises of the past — Middle East Critique.

Salem, S., 2010. Special issue co-edited with Roberto Roccu – Middle East Critique (entitled ‘Making and Unmaking Memories: The Politics of Time in the Contemporary Middle East).

Salem, S., 2019. “Social reproduction and empire in an Egyptian century.” Radical Philosophy.

Salem, S., 2018. “Reading Egypt’s Postcolonial State through Frantz Fanon: hegemony, dependency and development.” Interventions: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies.

Salem, S., 2017. “Critical interventions in debates on the Arab revolutions: centring class.” Review of African Political Economy.

Salem, S., 2017. “On transnational solidarity: The case of Angela Davis in Egypt.” Signs: Journal of women and culture in society.

Salem, S., 2017. “Critical interventions in debates on the Arab revolutions: centring class.” Review of African Political Economy.

Salem, S., 2017. “Four Women of Egypt: Memory, Geopolitics and the Egyptian Women’s Movement during the Nasser and Sadat Eras.” Hypatia: A journal of feminist philosophy.

Salem, S., 2017. “How far does neoliberalism go in Egypt? Gender, citizenship, and the making of the ‘rural’ woman.” Review of African Political Economy. (Co-authored with Karim Malak.)

Salem, S., 2016. “Intersectionality and its discontents: intersectionality as traveling theory.” European Journal of Women’s Studies.

Salem, S., 2016. “Old racisms, new masks: On the continuing discontinuities of racism and the erasure of race in European contexts.” nineteen sixty nine: an ethnic studies journal. (Co-authored with Vanessa Thompson.)