Professor Karima Laachir
Position: Director and Professor of Cultural Studies (The Middle East and North Africa)
School and/or Centres: Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
Phone: 61 2 612 54982
Researcher profile: https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/laachir-k?term=karima%20laachir
Karima Laachir took up the position of Director of The ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies in January 2020. Prior to her appointment, Karima held a tenured position at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where she was also the Director of the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies. Prior to that, she was Lecturer in Cultural Theory at the University of Birmingham (UK) where she co-established a BA programme in Culture, Society and Communication and helped convene a seminar series on “Gender in Islamic Societies” organised for the UK Chevening Foreign Office Programme on “Islam and Governance”. She previously taught at the University of Leeds (UK) where she conducted extensive outreach activities with Muslim and non-Muslim communities to improve access to higher education. As part of this initiative, Dr Laachir taught community courses on Islamic History, Gender in Islam and Arabic Language.
Karima’s broader research interests are located at the interface between Humanities and Social Sciences exploring culture/arts and activism under authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. Her published work moves beyond the dominant binary perception of Arabic Middle Eastern cultural productions as ‘co-opted’ by or resistant to the States to outline the various dimensions of cultural politics that involve local, national and global flows and structures. She is interested in the intersectionality and articulation of the questions of class, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality in cultural practices and how they mobilise alternative understandings of society and the State. She has published extensively on the question of Arab and Muslim Diasporas in Western contexts from the perspective of cultural identity, anti-racist politics and national belonging.
Dr Laachir has maintained a passion for literature and literary productions multilingually and comparatively (Arabophone, Francophone and Anglophone) exploring how literature can mediate through particular aesthetics/poetics alternative imaginings of social and political realities in the Middle East and North Africa and allow for other forms of theorising of the political. She is the Maghreb lead of a large European Research Council-funded project ‘Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies: For a New Approach to World Literature’, which offers a grounded, decolonial and comparative approach to the study of multilingual literatures from the perspectives of the Global South.