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Esra Mirze Santesso

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.

Esra Mirze Santesso received her B.A. from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, and her PhD from the University of Nevada. She specializes in postcolonial theory and literature with an emphasis on Muslim identity, diasporic and immigrant experiences, and human rights narratives. Her first book, Disorientation: Muslim Identity in Contemporary Anglophone Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) investigates the extent to which the questions and theories of postcolonial identity can be applied to Muslim subjects living in the West. Her most recent book, Muslim Comics and Warscape Witnessing (Ohio State UP, 2023) is the first monograph to investigate Muslim portrayals in comics. In this project, she challenges the lingering presence of the uncomplicated, monolithic “Muslim character”, and sheds light on how comics as a medium represent the daily lives of Muslims stuck in a perpetual cycle of violence due to border conflicts, civil unrest, autocratic regimes. She is the co-editor of Islam and Postcolonial Literature (Routledge, 2017), which offers a collection of essays on religion’s role in self-representation explored via film, theater, poetry, visual arts, performance pieces. 

Her articles have appeared in numerous edited collections, and in journals such as Journal of Religion and Literature, Critical Muslim, Postcolonial Interventions, Recherche Littéraire / Literary Research, The Comparatist, and Postcolonial Text. Her interview with Orhan Pamuk was published in PMLA.






Research Interests:

Dr. Santesso works on postcolonial theory with an emphasis on Muslim identity, Islamic feminism, diasporic literature, and human rights narratives.

Selected Publications:

Essays in Journals

“Halal Fiction and Female Agency.” Journal of Religion and Literature, 54.3 (2022).  

“Artificial Feminism: Muslim Graphic Narratives and Female Agency.” Critical Muslim, 34 (2020): np. (

“Problematizing the Hyphen: Disorientation and Doubled Otherness in Fatih Akin’s Head-OnPostcolonial Intervention, 2.1 (2017): 83-102. 

“Islamic Writers and Muslim Writing in the United States.” American Literary History, 28.3 (2016): 644-53. 

“Postcolonial Violence in Yashar Kemal’s Memed, My Hawk.” Postcolonial Text, 7.1 (2012): 1-15. 

Vision and Representation: Photography in Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City.” The 

       Comparatist, 135 (2011): 152-60.  

"Implementing Disform: An Interview with Orhan Pamuk.” PMLA, 123.1 (2008): 176-80.       

 “Degrees of Orientalism: Vision and Representation in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.” 

       Contemporary Turkish Culture, 1.1 (2004): 3-10. 


Chapters in Books 

“Muslim Superhero and American Multiculturalism.” Muslim American Hyphenations: Cultural Production and Hybridity in the Twenty-first Century. Ed Mahwash Shoaib. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2021. 103-22. 

“Pakistani Fiction and Human Rights.” The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing. Eds. Aroosa Kanwal and Saiyma Masood. New York: Routledge, 2018. 127-37.  

“Introduction.” Islam and Postcolonial Discourse. Esra Mirze Santesso and James McClung, eds. New York: Routledge, 2017. 

“The Discourse of the ‘Other’ in Orhan Pamuk’s Snow.” MLA Approaches to Teaching the Works of 

Orhan Pamuk. Eds. David Damrosch and Sevinc Turkkan. New York: MLA, 2017. 126-34.

"Transnational Identity and the Muslim Diaspora in Camilla Gibb’s Sweetness in the Belly.” Ethnic Literatures and Transnationalism: Critical imaginaries for a Global Age. Ed. Aparajita Nanda. New York: Routledge, 2015.41-54. 

“‘Silence, Secularism and Fundamentalism in Snow.” Global Perspectives on Orhan Pamuk. Eds.      Mehnaz Afridi & David Buyze. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 157-76.           

Literary and Photographic Aura in Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City.Istanbul:

       Metamorphoses in an Imperial City. Eds. M. Akif Kirecci and Edward Foster. New Jersey: Talisman 

       House Publishers, 2011. 67-81.

“Fundamental Differences in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Zadie Smith: Critical Essays. Ed.

       Tracey L. Walters. New York: Peter Lang Publications, 2008. 187-200.

Art and the Question of Borrowing: Approaches to Plagiarism in Literature Courses.” Critical Conversations about Plagiarism. Eds. Anne Meade Stockdell-Giesler, Tracy Ann Morse, Rebecca Ingalls, Michael Donnelly, and Joanna Castner (Anderson: Parlor Press, 2012). 36-43.

“Orientalism Through the Looking-glass: Dualism and Orientalism in Orhan Pamuk’s The White Castle.Borders & Crossings: Proceeding of the Fourth International and Pluridisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing, Ankara, Turkey, 4-6 July 2003. Ed. Arzu Etensel Ildem and M. Emin Ozcan. Ankara: Ankara University Press, 2004. 228-34. 



"Implementing Disform: An Interview with Orhan Pamuk.” PMLA. 123.1 (2008): 176-80.      


Shorter Pieces

“One Page of the Graphic Novel Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir.Humanities. 41.1 (2020). 

Book Review on Rehana Ahmed’s Writing British Muslims: Religion, Class and Multiculturalism

Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 5.2 (2018): 251-3.  

“Religion.” The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies. Ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry 

Schwarz. New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.

Book Review on E V Ramakrishnan’s Locating Indian Literature: Texts, Traditions, 

       Translations.Recherce Littéraire / Literary Research. (2014): 59-61.  

“Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red,” and “Orhan Pamuk’s The White Castle.” The Facts On File Companion to the World Novel, 1900 to the Present. Ed. Michael Sollars. (New York: Facts on File Inc., 2008). 546-7, 869-70. 

"Everyway That I Can: Cultural Negotiation and European Identity in Turkey," Contemporary Turkish Culture. 1.2 (2008): 2-7.



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