Welcome to the Department of English

The Department of English at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has a distinguished history. It is the oldest Department of English in the country, and can trace its beginnings to the establishment of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malaya in Singapore in 1949.  The Department of English subsequently became one of the first departments of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences set up on the present campus in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur in 1959.  

The department’s identity, which proudly sets it apart from every other Department of English in Malaysia, lies in our continued commitment to coverage of traditional British literature, from Chaucer and Middle English, through Shakespeare and the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, to the Victorians and the Modernists.  

Today, this coverage of the canonical tradition, unique in the country to the department, is complemented by an equally strong emphasis on the teaching of postcolonial literature and postcolonial theory. The teaching of postcolonial texts, which was then called “Commonwealth literature” and later known as the “new literatures in English”, was introduced into the curriculum during the tenure of Lloyd Fernando as the first Malaysian Professor of English (1967–1979). This extraordinary curricular range is reflected in the course offerings of both the department’s BA and MA programmes, which, in addition to the entire span of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present as well as postcolonial literature, also cover dynamic areas and approaches including Stylistics, American literature, critical theory, travel literature, women’s writing, creative writing as well as literary and other cultural productions from contexts as historically rich and diverse as Africa, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia. 

The Department of English has striven to be at the forefront of the latest developments in literary and cultural studies, with our members of staff engaging actively in research and offering exciting new courses of an interdisciplinary nature. These include Literature and Popular Culture, Literature on Screen, English in Advertising, English in Journalism, and Literature and the Environment. This singular curricular breadth and depth is mirrored in the research interests and expertise of our academic staff, and is a national hallmark of the department.


In addition to our undergraduate enrolment, the department has a lively postgraduate (Master’s and Doctoral) student body. Our teaching, research and professional activities are also regularly energized by visiting faculty and through the convening of talks, seminars and conferences at both national and international levels.  We have hosted distinguished scholars such as Michael Pearson, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Scott Slovic, Ien Ang, Yasmine Gooneratne, Benedict Anderson, Harish Trivedi, Sukanta Chaudhuri and Pheng Cheah.

Notable alumni who have contributed significantly to the development of the nation include Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Razali Ismail, K.S. Maniam, Chin San Sooi, Rebecca Santa Maria and Leow Puay Tin.

We warmly welcome prospective students, both from Malaysia and from abroad, who wish to pursue undergraduate or advanced studies in literature in English.   

Please feel free to use the links provided to learn more about our programmes of study and admissions process. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.

With my very best wishes,

Professor Sharmani Patricia Gabriel
BA, MA (University of Malaya)
PhD (University of Leeds)

Head of Department
Tel: +6(03) 79675505
Fax: +6(03) 79675456
Email: spgabriel@um.edu.my


To Pursue and develop academic excellence through research, learning and teaching
Department Chart


Programmes of Study

Our department on a regular basis hosts delegations, seminars, talks, colloquiums and conferences at both national and international levels. Here are some of our activities:

15 January 2016: A delegation of 28 people from University Warmadewa- Denpasar Bali.

19 October 2015: “Promoting Peace, Building Cultural Bridges and Combating Anti-Muslim Hatred in the West through Literature”, by Qaisra Shahraz, University of Manchester.

30 October 2015: A talk by Nur Farhana Low Abdullah from University Sains Malaysia.

15 October 2015: Annual English Department Colloquium, “Journeys Of/Toward Identity”, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya. 

11 December 2014: Annual English Department Colloquium, “Themes and Variations of Jane”, Asia Europe Institute Auditorium, University of Malaya.

8 – 12 December 2014: Jane Austen Festival 2014, University Of Malaya.

11 November 2014: “Reforming Malaysia: Gods, the Writer and Society”, by Amir Muhammad.

17 November 2014: "Last Man Standing: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse in Millennial Hollywood", by Dr. Elizabeth Abele, Fulbright Scholar 2014-15, Department of English, University of Malaya; Associate Professor,  SUNY Nassau Community College, New York, USA.

29 May 2014: Public Talk by our Alumni Tan Sri Razali Ismail.

13 March 2014: Public Talk by our Alumni Shirley Lim.

11 December 2013: Annual English Department Colloquium, “Literary and Cultural Intersections”, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya.  

new3 Lloyd Fernando Seminar Series

This year our department is proud and excited to launch the Lloyd Fernando Seminar Series in honor of Lloyd Fernando, our department’s, and the country’s, first Malaysian Professor of English (1967 – 1979). This series will be inaugurated by our Visiting Professor, Dr Nicholas Osborne Pagan with his talk on “Why read literature?” on 10 March 2016.  

We look forward to having more invigorating talks for this series in the future. We warmly welcome prospective individuals to participate in this series which will be held on a regular basis. If you are interested to give a talk, please do not hesitate to contact our Head of Department, Professor Sharmani Patricia Gabriel at spgabriel@um.edu.my

"East/West : Ruptures & Convergences" an International Conference
Shakespeare Refreshed Festival.Workshops.Readings.Performances
SR2016 Poster Page 1 Final
SR2016 Poster Page 2 Final
Industrial Training

Our department’s undergraduate students have internships in exciting, reputable places that help prepare them for the workforce such as:

  • Sasbadi Malaysia
  • Malaysian primary and secondary schools
  • Scholastic Malaysia
  • UCSI University
  • Pricewaterhousecoopers 
  • Hot Potato Publishing Sdn Bhd
  • AMG International Holdings Sdn Bhd
  • PEMANDU, Prime Minister’s Department, Putrajaya

We warmly welcome you to join our undergraduate programme and experience a world-class education. 

List of Academic Publications

Members of our department engage actively in research and publish widely in leading international peer-reviewed journals. The following is a selection of recent staff publications:

Here are selected book publications by members of our department:

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia and Fernando Rosa (eds), Cosmopolitan Asia: Littoral Epistemologies of the Global South, Routledge: London & New York, 2016. 

Pagan, Nicholas, Theory of Mind and Science Fiction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 

Kenedy, Robert, Margaret Greenfields, Jonathan Rollins, and Sharmani Patricia Gabriel (eds), Diasporic Identities and Spaces Between, Inter- Disciplinary Press: Oxford, United Kingdom, 2012. 

Leon, Carol E., Movement and Belonging: Lines, Places, and Spaces of Travel. Peter Lang, 2009. 

Yeow, Agnes S. K., Conrad's Eastern Vision: A Vain and Floating Appearance. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Yeow, Agnes, et al. eds. Critical Voices from Malaysia: Perspectives on English Literature. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 2006. 

Su, Soon Peng, Lexical Ambiguity in Poetry. London: Longman, 1994. 

Chapters in Books

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia & Fernando Rosa, "Asian Cosmopolitanisms: Towards Littoral Conjunctions", in Cosmopolitan Asia: Littoral Epistemologies of the Global South (Eds. Gabriel, S.P. and Rosa, F), Routledge: London & New York, 2016, pp. 1-19

Philip, Susan. “Cultural cosmopolitanism in the Malaysian theatre”. In Gabriel, S. P and Rosa, F (eds). Cosmopolitan Asia: Littoral Epistemologies of the Global South. 156-169. Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2016.

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. "'After the Break': Re- Conceptualizing Ethnicity, National Identity and 'Malaysian-Chinese' Identities". In Belonging to the Nation: Generational Change, Identity and the Chinese Diaspora (eds. Edmund Terence Gomez and Gregor Benton) Routledge: London & New York, 2015, p. 54-67.

Nadaswaran, Shalini. "Drug Mules" Not "Queen Pins". Ed. Collins, Walter. Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition. London: Cambria Press, 2015, p. 154-167.

Philip, Susan. “The Politics of Language Choice in the English-Language Theater of Malaysia”. Simona Bertacco (ed). Language and Translation in Postcolonial Literatures: Multilingual Contexts, Translational Texts, New York and London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 126-141.

Philip, Susan. “Challenging Racial Categorisation through Theatre: English Language Theatre in Malaysia”. In Blandford, Steve (ed). Theatre and Performance in Small Nations, Bristol, UK: Intellect; Chicago: Chicago UP, 2013, pp. 167-183.

Philip, S. “Confronting issues of belonging and non-belonging in the works of four female Malaysian theatre practitioners”. In Koh, A. and Balasingamchow, Y (eds). Women and the Politics of Representation in Southeast Asia: Engendering Discourse in Singapore and Malaysia. Routledge, 2015.

Articles in Academic Journals

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. "'Local and 'National' Transformations: Cultural Globalization, Heterogeneity and Malaysian Literature in English", THE JOURNAL OF COMMONWEALTH LITERATURE,  Vol. 51, No. 1, 2016, pp. 145-164. DOI: 10.1177/0021989414566517. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. Review of Abu Talib Ahmad, "Museums, History and Culture in Malaysia". Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2014, viii + 328 pp. ASIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE, Volume 44, No. 1-2, 2016, pp.286-88. 2016. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. "Malaysia: A Perverse Palimpsest [of National Identity]", WORLD POLICY JOURNAL, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2016. (forthcoming) (ISI-Cited Publication)

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. "The Meaning of Race in Malaysia: Colonial, Post-colonial and Possible New Conjunctures", ETHNICITIES, Vol. 15, No. 6 (2015), pp. 782-809. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. "After the Break": Re- Conceptualizing Ethnicity, National Identity and "Malaysian-Chinese" Identities, ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2014.859286, Vol. 37, No. 7, 2014, pp.1211-1224. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia. Review of The Gaze of the West and Framings of the East by Shanta Nair-Venugopal (ed.), ASIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE, Vol 41, Issue 5, 2013, pp. 534-35. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Gabriel, Sharmani Patricia and Fernando Rosa, "Introduction to Lived Cosmopolitanisms in Littoral Asia", in CULTURAL DYNAMICS: Insurgent Scholarship on Culture, Politics and Power, Vol. 24, No. 2-3, November 2012, pp. 115-126 (ISI/SCOPUS Cited Publication)

Kok, Su Mei. 'Macbeth': Damansara Performing Arts Centre. Shakespeare Bulletin, 33.4 (2015): 683-86. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Kok, Su Mei. "Middleton's 'No Wit, No Help Like a Woman's' at Whitehall." Notes and Queries 61.2 (2014): 274- 75. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Kok, Su Mei. "'How many arts from such a labour flow': Thomas Middleton and London's New River." Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 43.1 (2013): 173-90. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Kok, Su Mei. "Shakespeare Demystified: The Merchant of Venice (review)" Theatre Journal 65.1 (2013):123-25. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Leon, Carol E., Review of "A House called Askival: A Novel" and "Home to Lanka: A Novella in Five Movements", Wasafiri, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2015. (ISI-Cited Publication

Leon, Carol. “A Small Place: Re-looking Universals and Distinctions”. Pertanika, Vol. 22, pp. 121-29,  2014. (SCOPUS-Cited Publication

Nadaswaran, Shalini. Review of “Pede Hollist's So The Path Does not Die”. Wasafiri, Vol. 30, No. 4: 80-81, 2015. (ISI-Cited Publication)

Nadaswaran, Shalini. “Motif/ves of Justice in Writings by Third-Generation Women” Matatu, 45, 2014,  p. 381-397 (SCOPUS-Cited Publication).  

Pagan, Nicholas, Book Review: “Thomas Pavel’s The Lives of the Novel: A History.” Philological Quarterly 94.4 (2016), (forthcoming). (ISI Cited Publication)

Pagan Nicholas, “Gene-Protective Narratives: The Arabian Nights Reconsidered.” Asiatic, (forthcoming).

Pagan, Nicholas, “The Flow of Garbage: From Laurence to Phong.” SARE: Southeast Asian Review of English 52. 2016 (forthcoming).

Pagan, Nicholas, “A Literary Gene?” Revista Atenae: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (forthcoming).

Pagan, Nicholas, “Thing Theory and the Appeal of Literature.” Dacoromania Litteraria 2 (2015): 28-42. Available online at http://www.dacoromanialitteraria.inst-puscariu.ro/en/nr2.php (SCOPUS Cited Publication)

Pagan, Nicholas, “Dada and performance: A symbolic interactionist perspective.” Studies in Theatre and Performance 35:1 (2015): 22-35. (ISI Cited Publication)

Pagan, Nicholas, “The Evolution of Literary Theory and the Literary Mind.”  Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory. 15:2 (2013): 15-79.

Philip, Susan. “Building a Malaysian Community Online: An Analysis of That Effing Show and Online Responses to It”. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature 9(2): 41-59, 2015. (SCOPUS-Cited Publication)

Philip, Susan. Review of Keith Tan, Mission Pioneers of Malaya: Origins, Architecture and Legacy of Our Pioneering Schools. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature 9(2), 2015: 250- 251 (SCOPUS-Cited Publication)

Philip, Susan. Review of The Best of Robert Yeo. Asiatic 7.2, 2013: 173-175.

Philip, Susan. Review of 'Inspector Mislan and the UTube Serial Rapist'. Asiatic 7.1, June 2013; 196-198.

Yeow, Agnes S. K. “Place, Race and Environment in the Poetry of Muhammad Haji Salleh”. Textual Practice (2014): 1-27. (ISI-Cited Publication

SARE: Southeast Asian Review of English

Our department has its own journal SARE: Southeast Asian Review of English, which is published yearly. SARE is an international refereed journal with a distinguished history. Its first issue appeared in December 1980 with Professor Lloyd Fernando as its founding editor. SARE has a particular interest in postcolonial (with this term too subject to re-imagination) literary and cultural productions and with also exploring the cultural and intellectual aspects of the Southeast Asian region and issues connected with language and literature.

SARE will be published online beginning 2016.


Our alumni can be found in just about every profession. We are proud that many among them are notable figures – writers, directors, screenwriters, journalists, academics, civil servants –  who have contributed significantly to the development of the nation. Here are some of them with names you’ll recognize:

  • Shirley Geok-lin Lim
  • Tan Sri Razali Ismail
  • K.S. Maniam
  • Chin San Sooi
  • Rebecca Santa Maria
  • Leow Puay Tin
List of Expertise and Research Interests


Dr. Agnes Yeow

Email: agnesyw@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • Environmental literary criticism
  • Modernist literature
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Environmental literary criticism
  • Modernist literature
  • Creative nonfiction


Dr. Carol Leon

Email: caroleon@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • postcolonial literature (especially Malaysia, South Asia, the Caribbean)
  • travel literature
  • diasporicand migrant literature.
  • postcolonial literature (especially Malaysia, South Asia, the Caribbean)
  • travel literature
  • diasporicand migrant literature
  • Malaysian children's literature.


Dr. Leonard Jeyam

Email: Leonardr@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • 20th century poetry with a special interest in modernist associations of any kind
  • Southeast Asian literatures in English
  • postcolonial literature
  • contemporary Australian poetry
  • creative writing
  • modernist and/or postmodern notions of fiction
  • all kinds of 20th century and contemporary poetry in English.

Mr. Looi Siew Teip

Email: looist@um.edu.my 

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • English phonetics and phonology
  • Poetic Language and Versification
  • Quantitative Approaches to Literary Analysis
  • Poetic language, including figurative language, imagery and structure
  • Malaysian English
  • quantitative analyses of literary language and literary production
  • comparative literature (Chinese, Malay, French, German, Spanish)

Dr. Shalini Nadaswaran

Email: shalininadaswaran@um.edu.my 

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • African Literature
  • African Women's Literature
  • Nigerian/ Igbo Literature
  • Post-Colonial Women's Literature


  • African Literature
  • African Women's Literature
  • Nigerian/ Igbo Literature
  • Postcolonial Women's Literature.
  • Women’s Literature
  • Modern Day Slavery (Slavery and Human Trafficking)
  • Literature and Injustice
  • The figure of the ‘child’ in postcolonial literature

Dr. Sharifah Aishah Osman

Email: saosman@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • Nineteenth-century British Literature
  • Women authors of the Romantic Period
  • Romantic Orientalism
  • Children'sliterature in Malaysia
  • Nineteenth-century British Literature
  • Women authors of the Romantic Period
  • Romantic Orientalism
  • Children'sliterature in Malaysia

Dr. Sharmani Gabriel

Email: spgabriel@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • postcolonial literary and cultural studies
  • diaspora literature
  • transnational writings
  • Malaysian literature
  • British Asian literature
  • Asian American literature



  • theories of postcolonialism
  • representations of nationalism and national identity
  • migration and diaspora
  • race, nation and ethnicity
  • multiculturalism
  • state-society relations
  • contemporary Malaysian society and cultural politics
  • cultural globalization and cosmopolitanism

Dr. Susan Philip

Email: marys@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests

  • Malaysian and Singaporean drama in English
  • post-war British drama.


  • Malaysian drama and prose
  • issues of cultural, ethnic and gender identity in Malaysian literature
  • cultural, ethnic and gender issues in modern drama.
  • Online Media
  • Crime Fiction
  • Fantasy Literature

Dr. Su Soon Peng

Email: susp@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests


Feminism or Gender studies



Feminism or Gender studies


Dr. Kok Su Mei

Email: smkok@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests



Non-Shakespearean Renaissance drama (Middleton, Jonson, etc)

Renaissance literature

Early modern theatre history

Cultural geography

Material culture

Malaysian adaptations of Shakespeare




Non-Shakespearean Renaissance drama (Middleton, Jonson, etc)

Renaissance literature

Early modern theatre history

Cultural geography

Material culture

Malaysian adaptations of Shakespeare


Dr Nicholas Pagan

Email: nicholas.pagan@um.edu.my

Areas of Expertise

Supervision Interests


Literary theory and criticism

Twentieth Century and Contemporary American literature

Literature,science, and religion



Literary theory and criticism

American and comparative literature

Modern drama and film



Tinggi Foundation Bursary Awards

The Department of English is very fortunate to have the support of the Tinggi Foundation, which offers bursary awards to deserving students (prior to 2016,  financial assistance was given in the form of scholarships). The awards are open to second-year Malaysian students of the department. Applicants must demonstrate excellent academic ability and financial need.

The following are past winners of the Tinggi awards:


"I am truly honoured to be a Tinggi Foundation Award recipient and I would like to thank both the Foundation and my Department for giving me this opportunity. I am extremely thankful to be chosen among other worthy recipients. This award really helps to alleviate my study loans burden. Also, the award serves as a reminder for me to keep working harder and not fall short of others’ hopes in me." – Jessy Wong 


"With three siblings accessing secondary and tertiary education, my parents are constantly burdened with the responsibility of making sure we study in the most conducive environment. After moving to Kuala Lumpur and starting my degree in Universiti Malaya, I experienced hardships with my finances as my parents couldn’t afford to give me an allowance, even on a monthly basis. I was not able to purchase books for my classes, and in the worst case scenario, even basic needs like food and toiletries.
However, after receiving financial assistance from the Tinggi Foundation, I no longer need to juggle class and work in order to survive university. I can now fully focus on my academic life as the bursary has greatly improved my quality of life in Universiti Malaya. I really appreciate the opportunities that have been offered to me by the English Department and the Tinggi Foundation." – Allison Jong 


I am truly pleased and honored to be one of the recipients of the Tinggi Foundation Scholarship. For me, this is a blessing because out of many students who also worked really hard for the scholarship, I was chosen. I deeply appreciate the generosity of the foundation as the scholarship definitely helped ease my financial burden in completing my studies. A special thanks to the English Department of University of Malaya for making this happen for me!!! Judith Marielee


First of all, I would like to say that I really appreciate the opportunity given to me by the English Department, University of Malaya. This is because the department itself chose my name for the scholarship interview by Tinggi Foundation. I would also like to thank Tinggi Foundation for choosing me as one of the scholarship recipients. This scholarship has not only helped me with my tuition fees but also with my living allowance so that I don’t need to burden my parents for financial help. Once again, thank you so much to the department and Tinggi Foundation for this opportunity.Nur Faizah Bt Zainal Azam


I would like to take this opportunity to convey my appreciation to Tinggi Foundation. I feel so grateful and blessed that Tinggi Foundation has given me a chance. I never expected myself to be selected to receive this scholarship. Tinggi Foundation has provided me the financial support that allows me to pursue my studies without any worries. Furthermore, it has lessened the burden of my parents and it also motivates me to study harder. Thank you so much, Tinggi Foundation and the English Department! – Hah Shi Yun 

Department of English
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
University of Malaya 
50603 Kuala Lumpur 

T: (603)-7967 5505
F: (603)-7967 5456
E: spgabriel@um.edu.my
Last Update: April 08, 2016