Dr Sara Tafakori


My research interests include feminist theory, media and critical race theory, affect and emotion studies, national identity, and popular culture, with a particular focus on the mediation of justice and human rights. Before joining the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds, I was a visiting fellow and guest teacher at the Centre for Media and Communication at the London School of Economics, holding a joint position as a 2020–21 Max Weber Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellow.

I completed my PhD at the University of Manchester in 2018. I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh in 2019-20; concurrently I was a teaching fellow in Gender and Sexuality at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where I also acted as associate tutor and module designer/developer for the MA in Gender and Global Politics. My PhD research centred on the affective mediation of crisis through the lens of critical race and feminist theory, focusing on the mediation on Persian Facebook of economic sanctions on Iran.

My recent research has explored the problematics of constructing feminist solidarity through engaging with critical race and postcolonial critiques of popular feminisms; my article Digital feminism beyond nativism and empire: affective territories of recognition and competing claims to suffering in Iranian women’s campaigns addressing these issues, published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, received the 2021 Catharine Stimpson Prize for excellence in feminist scholarship. The article explores how Iranian digital feminism, as part of global south feminism, navigates master narratives of globalism vs localism through an expansive politics of recognition, a solidarity framework that neither transcends nor fetishises the national, but is based on a dialogue of locales. 

I hold a Masters in Gender Studies from SOAS, and an MSc in Media Studies and BSc in Journalism and Media studies from the University of Tehran, Iran. I come from a professional journalism background and worked for print media and press associations in Iran before my academic career.  My work has been published in JadaliyyaOpen DemocracyFeminist Media Studies and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. I am joint editor of the Brill Critical Emotion Studies book series, and co-convenor of the British International Studies Association (BISA) working group on Emotions in Politics and International Relations (EPIR).


  • Program Leader MA Media and Communication

Research interests

  • feminist media theory
  • critical race theory
  • affect and emotion studies
  • nationalism and popular culture
  • popular feminism(s) and digital activism 
  • mediations of justice and human rights
  • postcolonial theory 
  • non-western and de-colonial approaches to media 
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • Co-convenor, EPIR 'Emotions in Politics and IR' Working Group, British International Studies Association
  • Joint Editor, BRILL Critical Emotion Studies book series
  • Member of ECREA - European Communication Research and Education Association
  • Member of The British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • Member of European International Studies Association EISA
  • Member of British International Studies Association BISA
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>