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Dr Shahidha Bari, BA PhD (Cambridge) MA (London)




Shahidha Bari

My work spans across the fields of culture, poetry, politics and philosophy, but I started my studies with a BA in English at King’s College Cambridge in 1999.  You can read a little about my undergraduate days at the end of this interview here.

After completing studies at the universities of Cambridge, London and Cornell, I became Lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary in 2011 and now teach across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Alongside teaching, I sit on the editorial board of New Formations: A journal of culture/theory/politics and the sounding board of TCCE (The Culture Capital Enterprise).  I am a trustee of Arts Emergency, a charity dedicated to encouraging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to study arts subjects at university.  I am an experienced public speaker, chair, panellist and radio broadcaster.

In 2011, I was selected as one of ten AHRC BBC Radio 3 'New Generation Thinkers'.  And in 2014, I was awarded the Observor Anthony Burgess award for arts criticism:

 You can hear me regularly on Radio 4’s Front Row, Saturday Review, and Radio 3’s Free Thinking.   I write and present documentaries for Radio 4 and the World Service.  You can read my arts and culture reviews in the weekend arts supplement of the Financial Times, the Guardian, Times Higher Education, and The TLS amongst others.  You can also knock on my door for a chat in office hours where I usually have tepid tea on the go.


Research interests:

  • Fashion and philosophy, cultural history of clothes
  • Romantic Poetics:  Keats, Shelley and Byron
  • Islam and Arab Culture in relation to the West: 18thC to the present.
  • Contemporary Philosophy, specifically Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy 
  • Architecture and Modern Art

Recent and On-Going Research

My primary interest at the moment is dress.  I am writing a book on the philosophy of clothes, and I have interests in material culture, phenomenology, psychoanalysis and feminism.   I’m trying to work out why what we wear matters - if you have any ideas, do drop me a line!

My first book, Keats and Philosophy, published in 2012, explored Keats’s poetic mediations on friendship, mortality, and war, casting him as a startling modern thinker.  Since then, I have continued to work in poetics, philosophy and culture.  In recent years, my research has branched out, examining European engagements with Islam and the East, spanning the period from the eighteenth-century to the present.

I have a keen interest in continental philosophy, particularly deconstruction, and I’ve also spent time thinking and writing about modern art and architecture.


‘Keats and Mortality’, Chapter in John Keats in Context, ed. Michael O’Neill  (due Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Listening for Leila: The Re-direction of Desire in Byron’s ‘Giaour’’,European Romantic Review (December 2013), 24:5

Keats and Philosophy: The Life of Sensations (Routledge, 2012)

‘Lyrics and Love Poems: Poems to Sophia Stacey, Jane Williams and Mary Shelley’, in The Oxford Handbook of Shelley Studies, ed. M. O'Neill, A. Howe and M. Callaghan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

‘Feeling Friendship: Keats’s “This Living Hand” and the Sonnets on the Elgin Marbles’, in The Hand of the Interpreter: Essays on Meaning after Theory, ed. E. Jarosinski and M. Mitrano (Oxford: Verlag Peter Lang, 2009), pp. 107-34

‘Living On After Derrida’, Naked Punch Supplement, 11 (2008), 7-10

‘Being in the Care of Philosophy: Thinking about Rachel Corrie’, New Formations, 70 (2011), 7-22

Entries on 'Julia Kristeva', 'Orientalism', 'Jacqueline Rose, 'Edward Said', and 'Robert Young', for The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, 3 vols (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


PhD Supervision

I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.

Public engagement

You can read about some of my media and public appearances here.

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