Where Are You Now?

Anas Mahmoud Disi

Anas Mahmoud Ahmed Disi

MA English Studies 2018

Fresh from being awarded his Literature degree in Jordan, and teaching English as a second language to students, Anas wanted to further his academic research and chose the Masters in English at the University of Sunderland due to its reputation and the available literature modules he was interested in most.

The 23-year-old Palestinian, from Amman, Jordan, said: “Studying at the University of Sunderland was an enjoyable experience. The thing I liked most about the university was the availability, ingenuity, and steadfast support we as students received from the academic staff; we were also encouraged and free to let our curiosity and creativity take over, so long as we could do it with academic precision.

"Special thanks to the lecturers Colin Younger, Alison Younger, Peter Dempsey, and Geoff Nash, all of whom have sparked my interest in distinct research areas I hadn’t quite expected!”

Throughout his course, Anas proved himself to be an outstanding student, which led to him achieving the highest mark ever awarded to a student graduating from an English course at Sunderland.

Scoring a record 98 per cent for his dissertation, Anas graduated from his course, picking up the Sir Walter Scott Prize for Best MA English Studies Student.

He said: “I felt very honoured and pleasantly surprised. To me, being awarded this prize was not only a personal milestone, but also a feat of pride for my family and the many beautiful friends who supported me enough to finish the dissertation in the form it was submitted. It was their unwavering support that led me here.” 

“It feels incredibly flattering and unimaginably honouring that the staff have spoken so highly of my work. I am extremely thankful for my lecturers’ excellent facilitation and development of my abilities. The main reason I have an undying passion for literary criticism and social research is the dire and underestimated need we have of it in achieving clarity and justice in a world where things are not always clear and just. Be it Shakespeare, Marx, Freud, or Einstein, they who can read into Literature can read into the world.”

Anas’s dissertation is a critical study of a decades’ long divide and exchange of criticism between two schools of social and literary analysis, Marxist Theory and Postcolonial Theory, spanning texts from Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism, all the way to recent exchanges between the two schools in the last five years. He added: “A giant pile of theoretical texts, basically! Following my findings from and research into this exchange, I chose to defend Marxist Theory.” 

Now he has returned home to Jordan, what next for Anas? 

“I am taking a couple of years to further develop my professional experience in teaching and research, then hopefully continuing with a PhD which builds upon my work in this MA. I aspire to become a Literary Critic and full Professor one day. Currently, I am an Academic Coordinator at a private language centre.”

What is his advice to students just beginning their University journey at Sunderland? 

“Don’t stress out, it’s not as scary as the Internet might tell you,” he said. “Debate any interesting thoughts you have in class with your tutors before they’re even on a draft paper, it helps you develop them, helps you think. Eat your three meals a day. Stock up on coffee. Go out, walk, and air-drum to music when it’s a headlock. Enjoy the ride!”

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