Prof. dr. Sandra Ponzanesi

Gender Studies
Gender Studies
+31 30 253 7844

I am currently Full Professor and chair of Media, Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Department of Media and Culture Studies/Graduate Gender Programme(UU).

My expertise is gender and postcolonial critique from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. My research areas include postcolonial studies, transnational feminist theories, comparative literature, Italian colonial history, European migration studies, visual culture, postcolonial cinema, media and conflict studies. I studied English and Commonwealth Studies at the University of Bologna (Italy) and University of Sussex (UK) and received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at Utrecht University. I was visiting scholar at the University of California, Riverside (2004), visiting Professor at the University of California Los Angeles Women's Studies Program (2016), Gemma Scholar at Rutgers University (2014). In (2017-2018) I was Visiting Professor at Columbia University, department of English and Comparative Literature and Visiting Scholar at the New York University, NYU Steinhardt, Department of Media, Culture and Communication (MCC) and and senior visiting fellow LSE (London School of Economics), 2020-2022. I was Gemma visiting scholar at Columbia University (2022) and Visiting Professor at the Royal Netherlands Institute (KNIR) in Rome in 2024.

Currently I am  project leider of the NWO Project “Virtual Reality as Empathy Machine: Media, Migration and the Humanitarian Predicament” which makes an intervention into the field of VR for humanitarian communication by evaluating the potentialities and pitfalls of immersion and empathy through technological innovation.This project critically investigates the role of VR for humanitarian appeals by asking how and to what extent humanitarian VR can function as an empathy machine, bridging the distance between viewers and mediated others. It researches the impact of VR for humanitarian appeals, in particular concerning issues around migration and refugees.

I am also PI of the MSCA project Euterpe: European Literatures and Gender from a Transnational Perspective (funded under Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions) led by CEU executing the work package on Transnational women intellectuals, multilingualism and decolonising European pedagogies in collaboration with the University of Coventry, and co-led with Birgit Kaiser, Auxiliadora Castillo Soto as PhD.

I have been PI of the ERC consolidator project CONNECTINGEUROPE 'Digital Crossings in Europe. Gender, Diaspora and Belonging.' The project aims to investigate the relation between migration and digital technologies, in particular the way in which the ‘connected migrant’ contributes to new forms of European integration and cosmopolitan citizenship. The project explores digital diasporas in relation to issues of gender, ethnicity and affective belonging, focusing on how new technologies enhance new forms of connectivity between the homeland and destination countries, bus also across diasporas. The project pioneers a new interdisciplinary method that combines media studies, postcolonial theories, digital humanities and gender studies, drawing from the humanities and social science.

I have been project leader of the NWO Internationalization in the Humanities project "Postcolonial Intellectuals and their European Publics" (PIN) which brings together an international and interdisciplinary network of scholars to investigate the role of postcolonial public intellectuals as crucial actors in renewing the function of the humanities and of democratic participation in Europe. The project asks: Who are the postcolonial intellectuals, which of them are currently the most influential and how do they contribute to a new idea of “Europe”? This international network challenges the traditional definition of the “intellectual” by emphasizing the role of migrants, artists, activists and social movements.

Since 2010 I am founder and director of the Postcolonial Studies Initiative (PCI), an international platform that stimulates the research in the field of postcolonial studies through the organization of lectures, conferences, masterclasses and film screenings and the publication of a regular newsletter and the presence of a website and FB page.



Paulo de Medeiros and Sandra Ponzanesi (eds), Postcolonial Theory and Crisis. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2024

Koen Leurs and Sandra Ponzanesi (eds.). Doing Digital Migration Studies Theories and Practices of the Everyday. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University press, 2024.

Kristín Loftsdóttir, and Brigitte Hipfl and Sandra Ponzanesi (eds). Creating Europe from the Margins. London Routldge, 2023

Sandra Ponzanesi, Kathrin Thiele, Domitilla Olivieri, Eva Midden, Trude Oorschot (eds). Transitions in Art, Culture and Politics/Transities in Kunst, Cultuur en Politiek. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2023.

Bolette B. Blaagaard, Sabrina Marchetti, Sandra Ponzanesi and Shaul Bassi (eds.), Postcolonial Publics: Art and Citizen Media. Edizioni Ca' Foscari/Venice University Press, 2023.

Sandra Ponzanesi and Ana C. Mendes (guest editors) Special issue 'Screening Intellectuals: Cinematic Engagements and Postcolonial Activism.' Transnational Screens 13(2), 2022.

Sandra Ponzanesi and Koen Leurs (guest editors), Special Issue, 'Digital Migration Practices and the Everyday.' Communication, Culture & Critique, 15(2), 2022: 103-298

Sandra Ponzanesi, "Postcolonial Intellectual Engagements: Critics, Artists and Activists." Special Issue 'Postcolonial Studies', 24(4), 2021

Donya Alinejad and Sandra Ponzanesi (guest editors). Special Issue: Migration, Digital Media and Emotion | International Journal of Cultural Studies, 23(5), 2020: 621-820. Published by SAGE Journals

Sandra Ponzanesi, guest editor special Issue: 'Mobility and Migration in a Digital Age: (Re)Mapping Connectivity and Belonging.' Television and New Media, 20(6): 547-648.

Sandra Ponzanesi and Adriano José Habed (eds.), Postcolonial Intellectuals in Europe: Critics, Artists, Movements, and their Publics. London, Rowman and Littlefield, 2018.

Koen Leurs and Sandra Ponzanesi (guest editors). Special Issue 'Connected Migrants: Encapsulation and Cosmopolitanization.' Popular Communication. International Journal of Media and Culture, vol. 16(1), 2018.

Postcolonial Cinemas in Europe. Migration, Identity and Spatiality in Film Genres. Sandra Ponzanesi and Verena Berger (guest editors). Special Issue, Transational Cinemas, Vol. 7(2), 2016

Sandra Ponzanesi, 'The Point of Europe.' Special Issue Guest Editor. Interventions. International Issues of Postcolonial Studies, vol. 18(2), 2016.

Sandra Ponzanesi and Gianmaria Colpani (eds.), Postcolonial Transitions in Europe. Contexts, Practices and Politics. London, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

Sandra Ponzanesi, The Postcolonial Cultural Industry Icons, Markets, Mythologies. Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Sandra Ponzanesi (ed.), Gender, Globalization and Violence. Postcolonial Conflict Zones, New York, Routledge, 2014.

Digital Crossings in Europe. Koen Leurs and Sandra Ponzanesi (eds.). Special Issue for Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture 5(1), 2014.

Postcolonial Cinema Studies. Sandra Ponzanesi and Marguerite Waller (eds.). London, Routledge, 2012.

Sandra Ponzanesi and Bolette Blaagaard (eds.), Deconstructing Europe. Postcolonial Perspectives. London, Routledge, 2012.

Sandra Ponzanesi and Daniela Merolla (eds.), Migrant Cartographies. New Cultural and Literary Spaces in Postcolonial Europe. Lanham, MD, Lexingtonbooks, 2005.

Paradoxes of Post-colonial Culture. Contemporary Women Writers of the Indian and Afro-Italian Diaspora. Albany, State University of New York Press, 2004.
Media, Gender and Postcolonial Studies
Inaugural lecture date