Decolonial Subversions
About Us
Who We Are

Founding Editors

Romina Istratii

Dr Romina Istratii is a critical researcher and practitioner from eastern Europe specialising in epistemological issues in development, gender and religious studies. Informed by her decade-long experience in international development research, practice and consulting, Dr Istratii has been motivated by the aim of attuning development theory and practice to local knowledge systems and community priorities.

Dr Istratii started her international career in 2009 while pursuing undergraduate studies in the United States with a scholarship. She first worked as a market analyst for Navigator Ltd, a consultancy supporting business in emerging economies, including those in the eastern European bloc. She then conducted agricultural economics research at Bates College (Maine, US) and partners at the University of Tennessee. Between 2012 and 2013 she explored the gender dimensions of agricultural development and food security in sub-Saharan Africa under a Watson Fellowship that she was awarded by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation while still in college (New York, US). Her encounters with hundreds of female and male farmers, NGO staff members, government officials and other stakeholders involved in African agricultural development in four different countries, revealed that realities on the ground were considerably more nuanced, complex and non-uniform than they were portrayed in the mainstream development literature on Africa. Dr Istratii has dedicated her research career to exploring methodological approaches that better account for the conceptual repertoires and embodied experiences of local people and communities, towards identifying alleviation strategies of local issues that better accord with local priorities and sensibilities.

In 2018, Dr Istratii completed a three-year PhD study at SOAS, University of London, which applied a critical lens to mainstream gender and development theories and approaches and proposed a decolonial engagement with contexts and societies that fall outside of western epistemology and historical experience, but especially in indigenous religious societies. The study set to demonstrate the urgency and appropriateness for such an approach through a historiographical, theological, ethnographic and participatory study of conjugal abuse realities and attitudes in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahәdo community of Aksum city and the surrounding countryside.

Since engaging with the editorial work of the SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research in 2016 and as an active member of the Decolonising SOAS Working Group, Dr Istratii has been actively pursuing efforts to contribute to the decolonisation of higher education and to decentre western dominance in knowledge production. More recently, Dr Istratii established the Decolonising Research Initiative with the support of the SOAS Research and Enterprise Directorate in an effort to bridge epistemological decolonisation with the more structural and material factors of research development ( As the child of a low-income family that had to migrate to southern Europe in search of a better life, Dr Istratii is acutely aware of material impediments to quality education and information and she is especially keen to subvert barriers to higher education and profit-oriented publication practices that exclude certain economic and social classes from knowledge production.

Dr Istratii sees this initiative as the first step to subverting the current system in a more systematic manner and to putting in motion a new type of knowledge production that is not centralised or monetised, but is free, decentralised and genuinely collaborative. She acknowledges the limitations of all human-led initiatives, including this one, but she is also convinced that business-as-usual will only maintain the currently polarised and hierarchical world.

Monika Hirmer

Dr Monika Hirmer completed her PhD in Religions and Philosophies at SOAS, University of London (UK), in 2022. Her doctoral project, funded by the V. P. Kanitkar Memorial Scholarship, lies at the intersection of anthropology and philosophy and focuses on a contemporary South Indian Śrīvidyā tradition. Through intensive anthropological fieldwork, during which she was initiated into the tradition, Monika gained first-hand experience of the local cosmological framework and explored existential notions of beingness—such as gender, body, motherhood, environment, humanness, divinity and existentiality—as advocated by Śrīvidyā practitioners. Monika’s research creates a powerful decolonial counter-narrative to domineering (and erroneously universalised) western modes of being-in-the-world and existentiality.

Monika is also a Teaching Fellow, and has been teaching a number of courses at SOAS since 2018, spanning postcolonial, gender, and queer epistemologies, religion and world politics, international relations and political analysis. She was Co-Editor in Chief of the SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research during 2016-2018.

Her next research stint will be in Germany, where she will work as Research Fellow for the DFG-funded project ‘Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective’.

Prior to her time in London, Monika lived in Hyderabad, South India, where she worked as Cultural Coordinator for the Goethe Institut, Programme Officer for the German Research Foundation (DFG), and Cultural Consultant for the ‘Year of Germany in India’. Monika also studied at the University of Hyderabad, from where she obtained an MPhil in Anthropology with focus on religions.

Monika’s upbringing and earlier education were in Italy, where she studied up to BA level, which she obtained from the faculty of Political Sciences, University of Florence. After working in journalism as a reporter for Business India Magazine in Mumbai (India), she decided to deepen her understanding of South Asia with an MA in South Asian Area Studies from SOAS.

Monika’s exposure to, and profound personal, professional and educational involvement with different social, political and cultural backgrounds have shaped her understanding of the world and of what it means to be-in-the-world. Her experiences have made her particularly sensitive to the structural injustices furthered by the pervasive imposition of mainstream western epistemic and ontological paradigms, and fuelled her professional and personal commitment to a radically subversive decolonial world-arrangement.

Decolonial Subversions is at the same time an organic outcome of Monika’s exposures and experiences, and a further stepping-stone in her sustained effort to promote more equitable and just relationships in academia and beyond.

Much of Monika’s research—spanning Goddess traditions, tantric traditions, rituals, ontology and concepts of personhood, the ontological turn in anthropology and decolonial studies, with a focus on South Asia—can be found at her ORCID: 0000-0002-5776-1615 and page.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board of Decolonial Subversions is comprised of experts from a variety of fields, linguistic backgrounds and geographical locations, who are profoundly committed to and grounded in decolonial knowledge and modes of being.

Advisory Board Members are carefully selected and invited by the Founding Editors, based upon their expertise and their sharing of the exploratory and radically different vision underlying Decolonial Subversions.

Advisory Board Members work closely with the Founding Editors to support and to expand Decolonial Subversions through their specific knowledge, skills and networks. While they can collaborate among themselves, they report to the Founding Editors with whom they are in regular communication. The roles of the Advisory Board Members, like the roles of the Editors, Editorial Board Members, Language Partners and Reviewers, are all voluntary.

The Founding Editors reserve the right to add or remove Advisory Board Members and to expand or decrease the size of the Advisory Board in the best interests of Decolonial Subversions.

The Founding Editors are committed to engagement with a diverse pool of Advisory Board Members with backgrounds in academia, activism, art and craftsmanship, various professional fields and general expertise from all parts of the world. Decolonial Subversions is firmly committed to inclusivity, and seeks to be representative of any gender, faith, age, form of abledness, ethnicity, or other intersectional characteristics. Decolonial Subversions does not tolerate discrimination and encourages respect towards all beings.

Suyash Barve

Suyash Barve studied film direction and screenwriting in India, after which he worked as an associate producer and media consultant, before switching to academics to concentrate on his long-term interest in working in participatory media for social development.

His cinematic and written work explores the technological mediation of everyday existence in urban spaces, and the cultural politics of resistance in digital leisure activities.

Currently, Suyash is working on an independent research project focused on social media engagement and the political mobilisation of urban youth from low-income communities in Mumbai.

Vincenzo Cammarata

Vincenzo Cammarata is a freelance translator, interpreter and private language teacher (Italian, Portuguese and Spanish), as well as foreign news editor for the Liverpool-based company KVH Media.

Vincenzo was awarded a PhD in Angolan literature by King’s College London, with a thesis investigating how endogenous oral practices decolonise the language used in Angolan short fiction and support a sense of nationhood.

Broadly speaking, Vincenzo researches linguistic, literary and philosophical decolonial behaviours and approaches in order to transversally promote them within contemporary academic debates.

Márton Demeter

Márton Demeter is an associate professor at the National University of Public Service in Budapest, Hungary. Márton studies global academic inequalities, transnational knowledge production and the uneven accumulation of global symbolic and academic capital.

In his studies he mainly focuses on social sciences in general and on communication and media studies in particular, as the latter is one of the most biased disciplines in terms of both educational networks and international publication patterns. Márton also analyses journalism practices beyond the western world in general, and in the central and eastern European region in particular.

His research has been widely published in leading periodicals of the field such as Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, International Journal of Communication, Journalism, Journalism Practice and Publishing Research Quarterly.

Rachel Duncan

Rachel grew up in the UK where she attained a BA Hons (First Class) in Interdisciplinary Human Studies from the University of Bradford. A visit to India in 1989 sparked a life-long interest in the sub-continent and she has combined a wealth of reading around the region's history, current affairs, religion and culture with the experience of travel and of living in India.

Following a long period engaged in home-educating her son, Rachel trained as a teacher of English as a second language and then spent four years based in India with her son, where they both trained in permaculture design.

Rachel is now a fully trained and experienced freelance proofreader, specialising in academic and non-fiction material, and working particularly with speakers of languages other than English. Trained by the Publishing Training Centre and the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, she is a Professional Member of the latter organisation. 

Rachel's webpage is: and she can be reached at: .

Harsimran Kalra

Harsimran (Simran) is a lawyer turned academic concluding her doctorate in sociology of law at King’s College London. She was awarded the Dickson Poon Scholarship to conduct her research. Her work participates in the politics of democratisation of law and investigates the renegotiated meaning of law within the diaspora communities in the UK. In particular, she examines the use of law and religion in management of conjugality by British South Asian Muslims.

Between 2011-13, Simran worked in India on legislative reform, parliamentary processes, and researched and advocated for women’s rights, citizenship, and anti-corruption laws, making representations to the Parliamentary Standing Commissions, and provided research briefs to Members of Parliament. She has since pursued a Master’s in Law at SOAS, London and taught courses on Law and Development and women’s rights at Jindal Global University, Delhi.

Simran’s research interests have cohered towards the themes of gender, legal pluralism and legal consciousness studies. Her work has been published in the South Asia Review, Economic and Political Weekly and in the SOAS Law Journal.

Michael W. Thomas

Michael Thomas is a postdoctoral research fellow in Ethiopian Screen Worlds at SOAS, University of London on the ERC funded project ‘African Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film Studies’ and is the co-editor of the first volume on Ethiopian screen worlds called Cine-Ethiopia: The History and Politics of Film in the Horn of Africa (2018).

He works alongside colleagues across the world in efforts to open up film curricula to African, and specifically Ethiopian, experiences of cinema and television. His scholarship on Amharic cinema has been published as articles in academic journals and as chapters in various collected volumes. Michael also works on video-essays, documentaries and fiction films.

Editor Volume 2023

Ibtisam Abujad

Ibtisam M. Abujad is a doctoral candidate and teacher in the department of English at Marquette University in the United States. In her research, Ibtisam examines how oppression and resistance function culturally. She uncovers how global systems of power that are economic, social, and political are cultivated in media, literature, film, and in everyday cultural practices through race, gender, class, and national borders and boundaries that act as mechanisms. In similar ways, she analyzes cultural texts and their embeddedness in the conditions of their production to think about how resistance to oppression can occur culturally and communally through ways of being, doing, and knowing that disrupt these mechanisms. To enable this comprehensive anti-oppression decolonial framework in her “critique and praxis-oriented” research, teaching, and creative writing, she utilizes transnational and intersectional feminism, cultural studies and historical approaches, critical race theory, theories of class and politics, and Critical Muslim Studies. Ultimately, her work stems from her positionality as a Muslim and Palestinian woman, migrant, mother, academic, and poet, motivating a solidarity with those most vulnerable in the world.

She has published a number of scholarly articles and creative works. To engage with her research and publications, visit

Editor Volume 2024

Shahina Parvin

Shahina Parvin (she/her), Ph.D., is Sessional Instructor at Brandon University. She obtained a Ph.D. (2021) in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. She also holds an MA in Sociology (ULeth), and an MSS and a BSS in Anthropology from Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is interested in questions regarding intersections between biomedicine, knowledge, power, gender, race, suffering, and regulation. Her research agenda aims to identify and explain the causes of women’s suffering in society and within the healthcare system and to connect that knowledge to care settings and interdisciplinary scholarships. Her recent publications include “Symposium on anti‐racist and anti‐colonial theorizing,” in the Canadian Review of Sociology. She has been collaborating SSHRC-funded project by leading the qualitative part of the project, which explored the material effects of pain science knowledge and policies on clinicians and opioid users in two prairie regions, Brandon and Lethbridge in Canada.

Technical Team

Decolonial Subversions is the product of the collaborative work and shared vision of partners from various parts of the world.

While Decolonial Subversions is the outcome of the Founding Editors’ passion and commitment to decolonisation, it is also the product of the generosity and voluntary work of like-minded professionals and specialists, friends and well-wishers from around the world.

It has been a true privilege to work with a team of dedicated partners of the highest level of commitment and integrity. Their help has been absolutely fundamental to the creation of this platform, as they have developed the webpage and the design of Decolonial Subversions with only minimal input from our side. Their unrelenting readiness to join and their committed efforts to create a truly decolonial platform have been a refreshing departure from the scepticism we have encountered among some academics.

While we are proud that all our Technical Partners display the highest rigour in their respective fields, we are thrilled that they share our vision and commitment to the praxis of decolonisation.

We thank our Technical Partners for helping us to bring Decolonial Subversions to fruition, and we hope that we can strengthen these partnerships and foster true and long-lasting friendships.

Jessica Aitken – Proofreader

Jessica has been an academic proofreader for 11 years, specialising in problematic social issues such as conflict transformation, human rights and cultural exchange – and in working with authors who are particularly challenged in their use of English.

“Normally, a main aim of my work is to ensure that the writer – student or professional – conforms to academic conventions. In doing so, I’m aware that academia privileges certain types of thought and that language, itself, is a fundamental colonising tool, especially in academic contexts. So, I appreciate working for Decolonial Subversions and supporting a more creative and transformative use of English.”

As well as basic proofreading, Jessica’s service includes ensuring coherence and consistency, support in structuring work, indicating ambiguities and providing general reader feedback.

She has a BSc (Hons) in Astronomy and an MA (Hons) in Women’s Studies.


Recommendation: “… your meticulous work on our recent publication, Inclusive Innovation, transformed a disparate set of conference papers into a coherent and consistent text.” Professor Alan Hunter, director, CTPSR, Coventry University.

Rachel Duncan - Proofreader

Rachel grew up in the UK where she attained a BA Hons (First Class) in Interdisciplinary Human Studies from the University of Bradford. A visit to India in 1989 sparked a life-long interest in the sub-continent and she has combined a wealth of reading around the region's history, current affairs, religion and culture with the experience of travel and of living in India.

Following a long period engaged in home-educating her son, Rachel trained as a teacher of English as a second language and then spent four years based in India with her son, where they both trained in permaculture design.

Rachel is now a fully trained and experienced freelance proofreader, specialising in academic and non-fiction material, and working particularly with speakers of languages other than English. Trained by the Publishing Training Centre and the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, she is a Professional Member of the latter organisation.

Rachel’s webpage is: and she can be reached at:

Mukesh Manda - Web Development

After graduating from IIT Kharagpur, and a stint in Amazon where he worked as a software developer, Mukesh started his first venture QuickBasket—an on-demand hyperlocal grocery delivery service.

In mid-2015, Mukesh founded his second startup Tinmen—an app that helped office goers order home-made meals from home-cooks around them. Over four years, Tinmen grew into a platform of 100 home-cooks in Hyderabad, who together served over 60,000 meals every month.

Mukesh’s Linkedin profile is:

Christopher Anand - Web Development

Christopher has a degree in Information Technology and has been working as a software developer for over ten years in Hyderabad, India. He has worked at companies such as Accenture and Capgemini. Apart from writing code, he also writes short stories that he believes are funny.

Gauri Nori - Photography

Gauri Nori is a PhD scholar at the Department of Film Studies, EFLU, Hyderabad, where she is researching the nature of experimental films from India post-1990. She has a Master’s in Film and Literature from The University of York, UK, and a BA in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

She has taught various undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to film and media studies for almost a decade.

Her research interests include adaptation studies, aesthetics of film and experimental art.

Nirbhay Sen - Web design and contributions layout design

Nirbhay did his Masters in Environment Science from the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research, Pune.

In 2007 he joined GMIS Consultants, Hyderabad—a cartography focused, data analytics, semiotics, and management information systems consultancy. He became a director in the firm in 2009. During this time he oversaw the energy forecasting for the railway network of a major western European country. He was also involved in creating a water atlas for, the then united, Andhra Pradesh (in India) and has been involved in a commodity supply chain management system for an administrative subunit of the world's largest programme for early childhood care and development monitoring.

GMIS Consultants’ website can be found at:

This is his second collaboration with Monika and Romina, and their working relationship dates back to 2017.