Dr Alexandra Grieve

Dr Alexandra Grieve

Junior Research Fellow in Modern Languages


I undertook my undergraduate studies in South Africa, where, in 2013, I received a BA in Film and Media Production from the University of Cape Town. In 2017 I moved to the UK where I received an MPhil in Film and Screen Studies from the University of Cambridge. I undertook my PhD studies in this subject at the University of Cambridge from 2018 to 2022, funded by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. I was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at St John’s College, Oxford, in 2022.


Previous teaching

At the University of Cambridge, I lectured and took seminars on anticolonial cinemas in Africa for IL1: Ibero-American Cinema. Previously, from 2020–21, I supervised final-year undergraduate students on the Tripos Part II paper CS6: European film. From 2016–17 at the University of Cape Town, I tutored first-year undergraduate students in the Centre for Film & Media Studies.

Research Interests

My PhD thesis was entitled ‘Refashioning Difference: Costume and the Materiality of African and Afro-Diasporan Cinema’. It explored costume and materiality in African/Afro-diasporan cinemas, with an emphasis on works by women filmmakers. Comprised of analyses of the work of filmmakers and artists such as Julie Dash, Wanuri Kahiu, and Zina Saro-Wiwa, I argued that their richly haptic, textillic works highlight the filmic image as a materially ‘fashioned’ medium, through which African/Afro-diasporan peoples’ entanglements with globalized (neo)coloniality have been sensually remediated for the screen.

Generally, my research interests are situated across disciplines and include filmmaking in Africa and its diasporas, global postcolonial cinemas, women’s filmmaking, cinematic embodiment and material culture. Building on existing research I have undertaken for my PhD for on the role of costume and materiality in Afro-diasporan film, my current research examines Afrofuturist film and media. This project considers the material and embodied strategies through which Afrofuturist artists have navigated the precarities of our present-day political landscape, and situated more egalitarian futures within human reach.

Selected publications

Fashioning African Screen Worlds: La Noire De… (1966) and Les Saignantes (2005)’, in African Screen Worlds, edited by Lindiwe Dovey, Michael W. Thomas and Añulika Agina, Duke University Press (forthcoming 2022)

'Surface Tensions: Race, Costume and the Politics of Texture in Claire Denis’ Chocolat (1988)', Film, Fashion & Consumption, Volume 10, Number 2, 1 October 2021, pp. 335–52(18)

Awards and distinctions

Magdalene College Cambridge Graduate Tutor’s Research Fund Grant Recipient (2020)

Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages Fieldwork Research Grant (2018)

Gates Cambridge Academic Development Fund Grant (2019)

Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2018-2022)

Cambridge Trust Scholarship (2018, declined).

Cecil Renaud Overseas Scholarship (2017).

Johan Berg Historia Award from the Journal of the Historical Association of South Africa (2016)

University of Cape Town Honours Council Bursary (2013–15)

Eric Axelson African History Book Prize (2015)

Jane Stadler Book Prize for Media (2013)