Mobeen Hussain

Mobeen Hussain

Beacon Junior Research Fellow in Postcolonial and Race Studies.

Contact information


Approaches to History.


My research focuses on the British Empire and colonial legacies of consumption, material and literary cultures, and economic exploitation. My specific expertise is on race, gender, caste, medicine, embodiment, and corporeal consumption in South Asia. I am currently writing my first book, adapted from my doctoral research, on racialisation, colourism, and skin-lightening in colonial India. The book contextualises and historicises contemporary studies of colourism and skin-lightening by examining colonial constructions of race, caste formations, cultural norms around femininity and beauty, and forms of social power.
I also work on legacies issues, public history and the practices of archive formation and collecting. I am a visiting fellow on Trinity College Dublin’s Colonial legacies project researching transnational histories of enslavement, colonial governance and surveying, and cultures of knowledge-formation and collecting in Ireland, India, South Africa, and the Caribbean.

Selected Publications

Articles and Chapters:

‘Uprooted in the “Postcolonial” Moment: Attia Hosain’s No New Lands, No New Seas,’ Wasafiri (forthcoming Spring 2024).

‘Marketing Modernity, Selling Hazeline: A Comparative Study of Indian and Chinese Markets 1908-1957,’ Historical Journal (collaborative article with Dr Yushu Geng, forthcoming Dec 2023).

Food Myths and Unani-Influenced Medicine’, Forgotten Foods: Memories and Recipes from Muslim South Asia, Tarana Husain Khan, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley & Claire Chambers (Eds), Pan MacMillan, pp.128-135 (2023).

‘South Asian Women Re-Imagine Public Space,’ Global Feminisms, History Workshop (May 2023) (Online).

Black, Beautiful and Essentially British: African-Caribbean women, Belonging, and the Creation of Black British Beauty Spaces in Britain (c.1948-1990),’ Josh Doble, Liam Liburd & Emma Parker (Eds),
British Culture After Empire: Migration, Race and Decolonisation, 1945-Present. Manchester University Press (2023).

‘Beauty and the Bleach: the colonial history of colourism explored in BBC documentary’, The Conversation (May 2022 ) (Online).

‘Combining Global Expertise with Local Knowledge in Colonial India: Selling Ideals of Beauty and Health in Commodity Advertising (c.1900-1949),’ South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 44:5, pp.926-947 (2021).

‘Sunlight on a Broken Column and The Heart Divided as Autobiographically-Inspired Realist Texts: Navigating Gendered Socio-political Identities in Genre Fiction,’ Haris Qadeer & Yasser Arafath (Eds), Sultana’s Sisters: Gender, Genre and Genealogy in South Asian Muslim Women’s Fiction, Routledge, pp.160-176 (2021).

Selected Book Reviews:

‘A Most Noble Life: The Biography of Ashrafunnisa Begum (1840-1903) by Muhammadi Begum (1877–1908), Translated from the original Urdu, with additional material, by C.M. Naim,’ Journal of Urdu
Studies (2023).

‘Beneath the Surface: A Transnational History of Skin Lighteners,’ Oral History Journal (2022).

‘Elusive lives: gender, autobiography, and the self in Muslim South Asia,’ Women’s History Review 29:3 (2019).

Contact Univ

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