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Athabasca University

Dr. Asma Sayed

Individualized Study Tutor



  • BA (Saurashtra University)
  • MA (Saurashtra University)
  • Ph.D. (University of Alberta)


Dr. Asma Sayed has been with Athabasca University since 2008. She holds B.A. and M.A. in English Literature, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta. She teaches in Communication Studies as well as Women’s and Gender Studies programs at Athabasca University. She has also taught at the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan University in Canada, and internationally.

At AU, she currently teaches CMNS 201: Introduction to Mass Media, WGST 401: Contemporary Feminist Theory, and WGST 422: Violence Against Women – A Global Perspective. Previously, she has taught CMNS 202: Media and Power in Canadian Society, CMNS 402: International Media Systems 1 – The Americas, and HERM 327: Heritage Policy in Canada. She revised WGST 401 – Contemporary Feminist Theory, and has co-authored a new forthcoming course CMNS 427 – Comparative Study of Indian and Canadian Cinema. She has also served as a coordinator in Women’s and Gender Studies and Communication Studies programs.

Asma teaches and writes in the areas of media studies, popular culture, cinema, comparative literature, and women’s studies. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on Canadian literature and culture in the context of global multiculturalism. She is particularly interested in the role of popular literature, heritage languages, and culture in the creation of diasporic identities. Asma has an extensive personal archive on Indian cinema. In her current research project, she is studying the ways the on-screen figure of the Muslim woman has evolved within the context of the post-9/11 geopolitics, the global ‘War on Terror,’ and the rise of Hindutva politics in post-colonial India.

She writes a film column for AwaaZ: Voices – a periodical in Kenya focusing on issues of human rights and social justice. She serves on the editorial board of Athabasca University Press and Canadian Film Online. She is a board member of Canadian Communications Foundation.

Selected Publications


Sayed, Asma. ed. Cinema and the Mother: Motherhood in World Cinemas. Toronto: Demeter Press – forthcoming 2015.

Sayed, Asma. ed. Writing Diaspora: Transnational Memories, Identities and Cultures. Oxford: Press, 2014.

Sayed Asma, ed. M.G. Vassanji: Essays on His Works. Essential Writers Series. Toronto, Buffalo, Lancaster: Guernica Press, 2014.

Sayed Asma and Nayanika Kumar, eds. World on a Maple Leaf: A Treasury of Multicultural Canadian Folktales. Edmonton: Edmonton Public Schools Board, 2011.

Selected Book Chapters and Journal Articles

“Bollywood Virgins: Diachronic Flirtations with Indian Womanhood.” Virgin Envy: Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Virginity. Eds. Jonathan A. Allan, Cristina Santos, and Adriana Sphar. University of Regina Press, forthcoming.

“Towards a Globalectical Reading of Comparative Canadian Literature.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 41.2 (2014): 198-201.

“Bollywood in Diaspora: Cherishing Occidentalist Nostalgia.” Diasporic Choices. Ed. Renata Seredyńska-Abou Eid. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2013. 11-20.

“Nation, Religion, and Disability: Identity Politics in Bombay Cinema.” Film and Media Reader 1. Ed.  Phillip Drummond. London, UK: The London Symposium, 2013. 140-50. Web.

“Screening Alternate Discourse: Celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema.” AwaaZ: Voices 10.2 (2013): 63-66.

Book Reviews

“Narrating Motherhood.” Review of Telling Truths: Storying Motherhood, by Sheena Wilson and Diana Davidson (eds). Canadian Literature. Forthcoming.

Review of Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, Afrasian Imagination, by Gaurav Desai. Journal of South Asian Diaspora. 7.1 (2015): 73-75

Review of Crosstalk: Canadian and Global Imaginaries in Dialogue, by Diana Brydon and Marta Dvořák (eds). Transnational Literature 6.2 (2014): web.

Review of The Magic of Saida, by M. G. Vassanji. World Literature Today March (2013): 147-48.

Conference Presentations

“Courtesan Bombshell to Terrorist Bomber: Indian Cinematic Representations of the Muslim Woman.” Unsettling Colonial Modernity: Islamicate Contexts in Focus. University of Alberta, April 24-25, 2015. Forthcoming

“Mythical Homes and Violent Realities: Reading Gujarat in M. G. Vassanji’s Writings.” Borders, Boundaries and Margins: South Asian Literary Association Annual Conference, Vancouver, January 6-7, 2015.

“Performing Islam: Representations of Muslim Women in Bombay Cinema.” South Asian Muslim Studies Association, Madison, October 16-19, 2014.

“Of Virgins and Vamps: The Politics of Chastity in Bollywood.” Film and Media 2014, University of London, UK. June 26-28, 2014.

English-Vinglish: Straddling Patriarchal and Linguistic Hegemony.” Canadian Women’s Studies Association, Brock University, June 2-4, 2014.

“Between Languages: A Bakhtinian Reading of M G Vassanji’s Novels.” The Transnational Imaginaries of M. G. Vassanji, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Nov. 8-10, 2013.

“Transcultural Encounters: Cityscapes in Bombay Cinema.” Canadian Comparative Literature Association, University of Victoria, June 2-4, 2013.

Updated May 26 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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