UCL Department of Geography


60 Seconds With…Professor Tariq Jazeel

10 March 2023

Professor Tariq Jazeel reflects on his research as he prepares to give his Professorial Inaugural Lecture on the relationships between geography, postcolonialism and culture, at UCL on 10 May 2023…

60 Seconds With…Professor Tariq Jazeel

Tell us a little about your research

My work is positioned at the intersections of postcolonial theory, human geography, and South Asian studies. In this broad context, much of what I’ve worked on examines the relationships between culture and politics, which means I am interested in the kind of postcolonial politics that is close to hand, in our everyday lives, all around us, and so often taken as given. Currently, I’m working on a project that engages with the role that British-Asian dance music from the late 1990s and early 2000s has historically played in British South Asian belonging and changing conceptions of Britishness at the dawn of the new millennium.

Why is your research important?

I’d like to think it’s because it’s aimed at getting us to scratch beneath the surface of that which we take as given, especially with respect to race and ethnicity, nations and nationalism, knowledge, and the spatial and social formation of the postcolonial world.

What inspires you in your work?

It’s never been just one thing. The generosity and brilliance (intellectual and otherwise) of the many colleagues, peers and teachers with whom I’ve been lucky to work over the years. The energy and creativity of every student who wants to think critically and differently always pushes us as teachers and researchers. The stories, photos, and fragments of memory my mum, dad and grandmother left us with respect to their own experiences of the Empire. Friends, who ask, and care. And the sense of continuing to learn, always.

What has been your most memorable career moment so far?

Interviewing the musician Talvin Singh for an event at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies in 2017, one of my musical heroes!

What passions/hobbies do you have outside of work?

Music. Pilates. Arsenal. Gardening. And trying to reverse the ageing process…!

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Preti Taneja’s Aftermath (2022, And Other Stories). And lots of books about pirates.