360 Dr. Martin L. King Blvd.
Hill Hall 514
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Associate Professor, Department of English
Affiliate, Women's and Gender Studies Program
Adjunct Professor, Stavros Niarchos Hellenic Studies Center, Simon Fraser University
Degrees and Previous Teaching:
B.A Wellesley College, 1992
Ph.D, Brown University, 2002
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Williams College
Undergraduate courses I have taught at Rutgers include “Transnational Muslim Fiction,” “Religion and Literature,” “Literature and Decolonization,” “Techniques of Poetry,” “Postcolonial Europe” and “The Honors Freshman Humanities Colloquium.” I have taught graduate course such as “Introduction to Postcolonial Theory and Literature,” and “Religion, Literature and Theory,” “Spy Novels and Empire.”
Ranging from film, Hellenism, historicism, European perceptions of Europe’s own
history and identity, networks of cultural circulation in the Mediterranean, religion, theology and theory, the history of European Christianity, religious fundamentalisms, neoliberalism, the rise of the global right, contemporary British fiction, gender and religion to early Netherlandish and Renaissance painting, contemporary Pakistani art.
President's Merit Award, 2016.
Co-winner MLA First Book Prize for 2014 for At Freedom's Limit, 2015
Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence, 2014
Dembo Prize for Best Essay published in Contemporary Literature, 2011
Students' Choice Award, 2016.
MSA: Professor of the Year Award, 2016.
B.A. Wellesley College
Ph.D. Brown University
Postcolonial literature and theory, the culture and politics of Islam in modernity, early modern English literature—especially the literature of religious strife—and the history of twentieth-century criticism.
The Empty Room (a novel), Zubaan Press, 2018.
At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament, Fordham University Press, 2014.
"Nikes in Nineveh: Daesh, the Ruin and the Global Logic of Eradication" The Edinburgh Companion to the Postcolonial Middle East, eds. Anna Ball and Karim Mattar (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018): 293-308.
"Neither Greek nor Indian: Nation and History in River of Fire and The Mermaid Madonna," The Postcolonial Contemporary, eds. Gary Wilder and Jini Watson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018): 166-186.
"Preliminary Thoughts on Art and Society," Beyond Muslim Liberalism, eds. Faisal Devji and Zaheer Kazmi (London: Hurst Publishers, 2017): 243-260.
“The Echo-Chamber of Freedom: The Muslim Woman and the Pretext of Agency.” boundary 2 40:1 (2013): 155-189.
“Leila Aboulela, Religion, and the Challenge of the Novel,” Contemporary Literature 52:3 (2011): 430-461.
“Itineraries of Conversion: Judaic Paths to a Muslim Pakistan” Crisis and Beyond: Re-Evaluating Pakistan, ed. Naveeda Khan (London: Routledge, 2009): 345-369.
“Other People’s History: Contemporary Islam and Figures of Early Modern European Dissent,” Early Modern Culture, 2007. http://emc.eserver.org/1-6/abbas.html (permanently archived).
“Polemic and Paradox in Robert Southwell’s Lyric Poetry,” Criticism 45: 4 (2003): 453-482.
"Of Things to Come," review of Amitav Ghosh's The Great Derangement, b2o, April, 2018, http://www.boundary2.org/2018/04/sadia-abbas-of-things-to-come-review-of-amitav-ghoshs-the-great-derangement/
"Angels of History: Review Essay of Faisal Devji's Muslim Zion," SCTIW Review, February 24, 2015, https://www.academia.edu/11800133/Angels_of_History_A_Review_Essay_of_Faisal_Devjis_Muslim_Zion
“Go Where? Lesvos Summer 2018—A Personal Essay,” The Daily Times, Pakistan, Nov. 27, 2018. https://dailytimes.com.pk/326787/go-where-lesbos-summer-2018-a-personal-essay/
"Lesvos Summer, 2018," Tank Magazine, UK, Nov. 2018. Online version:
“Imran Khan Continues Toxic Habits; where’s the Change?;” Naya Daur TV. Oct. 9, 2018, https://www.nayadaur.tv/2018/10/imran-khan-continues-toxic-habits-wheres-the-change/,
Excerpt from The Empty Room, Scroll, India web, June, 2018.
Excerpt from The Empty Room, The Brooklyn Rail, web exclusive, May, 2018.
“Daring to Exist—The Pakistani Woman’s Fault,” Dawn June 6 ,1 2016, https://www.dawn.com/news/1262524
“Bombs Targeting Christians is Extremism, but our everyday Bigotry Isn’t?” Dawn, April, ,1 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/1249310/bombs-targeting-christians-is-extremism-but-our-everyday-bigotry-isnt
Neoliberal Moralism and the Fiction of Europe—A Postcolonial Perspective, Open Democracy, July 16, 2015, https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sadia-abbas/neoliberal-moralism-and-fiction-of-europe-postcolonial-perspective
“Valued Added” (a short essay on the paintings of Komail Aijazuddin for the gallery Catalogue for his exhibition Red and Gold --Khaas Art Gallery) Islamabad, 2013.
“The Roots of Pakistan’s Political Crisis: A Kleptocratic Military and Corrupt Political Elites,” Counterpunch, https://www.counterpunch.org/2007/11/12/the-roots-of-pakistan-s-political-crisis/, Nov. 12, 2007.
Scholarly books in progress:
Space in Another Time: An Essay on Ruins and Monuments
Shahzia Sikander: Extraodinary Realities, co-edited and co-produced with Jan Howard for the RISD museum.
Select interviews and reviews:
Scroll India review:
Hindu Business line:
Daily Times: Interview about academic and literary work:
The Friday Times interview about At Freedom's Limit;
Interview with the Rutgers Paper:
The Empty Room Reading, Yale University, Nov. 1, 2018
“Pakistan and the Political Contemporary,” book launch panel for The Postcolonial Contemporary: Political Imaginaries for the Global Present, NYU Oct. 31, 2018.
The Empty Room Reading, Rutgers University Newark, Oct 25, 2018
Unmixing," Political Concepts Conference, CUNY, April 2018.
"Miniature and Baroque: Martial law, Global Militarism and the Reinvention of Form in Pakistani Art," CAA, February 2018.
Moderator and Organizer, "A Conversation with Shahzia Sikander," Rutgers University-Newark, April 2017.
Moderator and co-organizer, "Black Narratives of Living: a Conversation between R.A. Judy, John Keene and Fred Moten," NYU, December, 2016.
Presented to a faculty seminar on my book at the Oakley Center, Williams College, March 2016.
"Nikes in Nineveh: Daesh, the Ruin, and the Global Logic of Eradication," Civil War, Terrorism, and Political Violence, Conference at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, March, 2016.
"Apocalypse and the 24 Hour News Cycle: What Young People Have to Deal With Today," Keynote Speech, Michael Gershowitz Annual Conference on Media and Democratic Governance, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University, Newark, September 2015.
Radio Interviewee, speaking about the refugee situation in Greece with Prof. David Lloyd, SWANA Region Radio, July 20, 2015.
“On the Question of Metropolitan Solidarity,” University of Pittsburgh, April 2012.
“Antinomian Revival in the Muslim Novel,” invited talk, Haverford College, April 2011.
“Islamism and the Pakistani Praetorian State,” panel with Christian Parenti and Biju Matthew at Leftforum, NYC, March 2011.
“The Echo-Chamber of Freedom: The Muslim Woman and the Pretext of Agency,” invited talk, Center for Muslim Societies, Simon Fraser University, March 2011.
“The Idea of the West in Orhan Pamuk’s Snow,” Conference on Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, Hellenic Studies Progam, Simon Fraser University, March 2011.
“The Echo-Chamber of Freedom: The Muslim Woman and the Pretext of Agency,” Dept of Comparative Literature, UCLA, Jan. 2010.
“Thinking About Elsewhere,” Conference on Park 51, Rutgers-Newark, Nov. 2010.
“The Echo-Chamber of Freedom: The Muslim Woman and the Pretext of Agency,” Queer Cosmopolitanism panel at the ACLA, April 2010.
“A Few Cautions about the Turn to Religion,” Women and Religion Conference, Rutgers-Newark, March 2010.
Member of panel introducing “Re-Evaluating Pakistan” at Leftforum, Mar 2010.
Interviewed as a South Asianist in BHUTTO, a documentary, released 2010.
“The World is All We Have,” Response to Stathis Gourgouris at Columbia University Faculty Literary Theory Seminar, Feb. 2009.
“Religion in the Age of Identity: The Challenge of the Novel,” English Department, Williams College, Fall 2007.
“Bracketing Justice: Religion in the Age of Identity,” invited talk, Department of Comparative Literature, SUNY Buffalo, January 2007.
“Religion and the Task of Postcolonial Studies—Analysis or Critique,” Plenary session, Religion and Postcolonial Criticism Conference, Princeton University, March 2006.
“Theodicy, the Ethics of Unbelief and Criticism,” Religion and Postcolonial Criticism Conference, Princeton University, March 2006.
Image of Newark skyline.