I’m currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. My research focuses broadly on themes of memory, (labour) migration, and exile in Francophone literature from North and Sub-Saharan Africa, especially from Morocco and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I also have a strong secondary research interest that focuses on the intersections of Postcolonial Theory and Jewish Studies across different languages and “unlikely” geographical contexts. I’m currently working on a book manuscript on representations of the city of Brussels in contemporary postcolonial writing in French. My new project focuses on the Belgian colonial health system via literary, scientific, and religious archives.

I am also the Editor of the Bulletin for Francophone Postcolonial Studies (the journal of the Society for Postcolonial Studies) and a Volunteer Translator at the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide in London (since 2015).


PhD, French – University of Edinburgh (2013-2017)

MA, French Philology, American Studies, English Literature – Saarland University (2007-2012)


Peer-reviewed journal articles

• ‘Narrating the (Post-)Nation? Aspects of the Local and the Global in Francophone Congolese Writing’, Research in African Literatures 49.1 (2018), pp. 22–41. Available here.

• ‘Les géographies transculturelles et postcoloniales: Bruxelles dans les écritures de Mina Oualdlhadj et de Pie Tshibanda’, Textyles: Revue des lettres belges de langue française 47 (2015), pp. 159–174. Available here (open access).

• with David Cummings ‘Introduction: Memory/Amnesia and (Post)Colonialism’, Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies 6.2 (2015), pp. 6–9. Available here (open access).

• Forthcoming: ‘A Grotesque Body Politic? Gender, Care, and Affect in the novels of Sony Labou Tansi and Alain Mabanckou’ (for special issue of the Irish Journal of French Studies (2020).

Special issues (co-edited)

Irish Journal of French Studies, special issue on ‘Revisiting the Grotesque in African Francophone Literatures’, with Joseph Ford (forthcoming 2020).

Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies 6.2 (2015), with Kate Marsh and David Cummings. Available here (open access).

Book chapters

• ‘From Mobutu to Molenbeek: Belgium and Postcolonialism’, in Postcolonial Europe: Comparative Reflections after the Empires, ed. by Lars Jensen, Julia Suárez-Krabbe, Christian Groes-Green and Zoran Lee Pecic (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), pp. 163–176. Available here (open access). 

• ‘De Mobutu à Matonge: la littérature contemporaine de la diaspora congolaise’, in Créer en postcolonie. Voix et dissidences belgo-congolaises 2010-2015, ed. by Sarah Demart and Gia Abrassart (Brussels: Africalia, 2016), pp. 225–232. Link to publisher’s website.

Book reviews

• Review of Filippo Zanghi, Zone indécise: Périphéries urbaines et voyage de proximité dans la littérature contemporaine (Villeneuve d’Ascq: PU du Septentrion, 2014), French Studies, 69.4 (2015), p. 571. Available here (open access). 

• Review of János Riesz, Südlich der Sahara: Afrikanische Literatur in französischer Sprache (Tübingen: Stauffenburg Verlag, 2013), Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies 6.1 (2015), pp. 20-21. Available here (open access). 

Other publications

• ‘The Problem with the Prophet: Review of Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses’, Africa in Words Online Blog (2018). Available here.

• ‘(Peer-)Teaching Postcolonial Studies: Workshop at the University of Edinburgh’, Northern Postcolonial Network Online Blog (2016). Available here.



Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies

Society for French Studies


Sarah Arens

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