Dr Devika Singh was Smuts Research Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies (2012-2015). She is writing a book on art in post-independence India for Reaktion Books and curating several exhibitions on photography in South Asia. She holds a PhD in the history of art from the University of Cambridge and was a visiting fellow at the French Academy at Rome, the Freie Universität and the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress. Her work has been published in Art History and Modern Asian Studies as well as in several edited volumes and exhibition catalogues. Her research has been supported by the British Academy, the AHRC and Trinity College, among others.
Aishwarj Kumar teaches Hindi at the undergraduate level at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge. He also teaches Hindi and Urdu to MPhil students at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge. He holds an MPhil degree in History from the University of Delhi. His research interests include the history of North Indian languages particularly Hindi, Urdu and Bhojpuri, literary history, the social and cultural history of colonial North India and Indian theatre. He has published on the history of the Indian People's Theatre Association ('Visions of Cultural Transformation: I.P.T.A. in Bengal, 1940-1944'. In Turbulent Times: India, 1940-44, edited by Bismoy Pati, 167-84. Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1998.) And, also on Hindi in colonial and post-colonial India. He has contributed articles to a number of Hindi journals and newspapers such as Vaak, Jansatta and Swatantra Varta. His most recent publication includes: A Marginalised Voice in the History of 'Hindi', Modern Asian Studies, 2013, Vol. 47, Issue 5, pp. 1706-1746. Most recently he presented a paper entitled 'The Question of Language in Nineteenth-Century Bihar' at a Conference on 'Bihar and Jharkhand: Shared History to Shared Vision' organized by the Asian Development Research Institute, Patna, India on March 24-27, 2017.
Ornit Shani is a scholar of the politics and modern history of India. She is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Asian Studies, University of Haifa.
Ornit received her PhD from the University of Cambridge. She was a Research Fellow at St. John’s College, Cambridge University. Her current research focuses on the modern history of democracy and citizenship in India. Her forthcoming book is How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise, Cambridge University Press (2017). This book uncovers the greatest experiment in democratic history: the creation of the electoral roll and universal adult franchise in India. Ornit holds an Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) grant for her sequel project: ‘Embedding Democracy: the Social History of India’s First Elections’. Her other areas of research are the rise of Hindu Nationalism, identity and caste politics, communal and caste violence. She is the author of Communalism, Caste, and Hindu Nationalism: The Violence in Gujarat (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall. While her research centres on South Asia, her primary work is as a visual and digital anthropologist. Her research considers the construction of racial, gender and political identities in visual records and their relevance to current historical studies.She teaches an annual course on ‘Visual rhetoric and modern South Asian history’ and is the convenor of the annual seminar series ‘Visual constructions of South Asia’. Her scholarly work includes various publications and several outreach projects at universities and research institutes in the UK, Asia and Europe. She is also the founder of Amateur Cinema Studies Network, the first international project promoting amateur cinema/media studies.
Dr Sudeshna Guha, Associate Professor of History, Shiv Nadar University, U.P., India and Tagore Research Scholar, National Museum, New Delhi. Dr Guha is a historian of South Asia with field training in archaeology. She also researches on visual histories, and is currently working on archaeological creations of cultural heritage in post-colonial India. Recently published: Artefacts of History; Archaeology, Historiography and Indian Pasts (SAGE, New Delhi, 2015)
Mr Bernard Collaery is an Australian barrister and a human rights advocate. He is writing a book on the history of Timor Lesté, from its colonial beginnings through to post-independence, highlighting the role played by successive Australian governments and United States and UK interests. His work with the late Sir Elihu Lauterpacht QC has been supported by Trinity College, among others. Bernard acted recently for Timor- Lesté in the Arbitration Between Timor- Lesté and Australia Under the Timor Sea Treaty, a case administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague. His team also acted on behalf of Timor- Lesté in the International Court of Justice in Questions Relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor- Lesté v. Australia) Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures.
Dr Subhadra Sanyal holds a PhD on the history of the book in Bengal from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her research interests include the history of writing, the Bengali book, print culture, and cultural nationalism in nineteenth-century Bengal. She is currently engaged in writing and researching for her book monograph on the place of the book in modern Bengali learned culture.
Dr Leake is Lecturer in International History at the University of Leeds. She completed her BA and MA in history at Yale University in 2009 before moving to the University of Cambridge for her PhD. She subsequently held a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London, from 2013-16. Her first book, 'The Defiant Border' is a history of the northwest frontier tribal area of the Indian subcontinent (what is now Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area) in the context of decolonization and the global Cold War. It considers why this region has remained largely autonomous in the twentieth century, as well as why the region has persisted in interesting state actors in South Asia and the West.
Dr Datta is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, affiliated to the Centre. After completing her PhD on gender and urban space in post colonial Delhi, she is currently working on her book monograph, along with a new project on women's informalities and patterns of urban change in modern South Asia.
Norbert Peabody is an historian and anthropologist whose research focuses on nationalist discourses in India from the early 19th century to the present. His historical research explores how imaginings of national identity that were articulated in early 19th century India rebounded upon Britain’s national identity in surprising and unexpected ways later during that century. His anthropological research focuses on forms of ‘muscular nationalism’ in India (Rajasthan, in particular) and how they have been manifest in the violence of religious nationalism and its lived aftermaths.
He is also currently co-editing, with Ramya Sreenivasan (UPenn), a newly introduced, annotated, and corrected edition of James Tod’s famous Annals and Antiquities of Rajast’han. This will be published by Yale University Press in early 2020. In addition, Norbert Peabody is the Associate Editor of the CUP journal Modern Asian Studies.
Emeritus Professor of International Business, School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London
Recently published: 'The Chinese and Indian Corporate Economies; a comprehensive history of their search for economic renaissance and globalization', Routledge, 2017
Ms Shiraz Vira is a sociologist who completed her Mphil at the University of Cambridge (1991). She has been actively involved in sending students from the University of Cambridge to volunteer with Environmental and Development related Non-Governmental Organisations in India.
Her charity Camvol has helped well over 100 Cambridge students in finding meaningful internships and voluntary work in India. She has assisted students interested in International Development with finding work experience in the field of ‘development’. This has helped them with their academic dissertations and pursuing careers in development related fields.
Dr Harshan Kumarasingham is Lecturer in British Politics at the University of Edinburgh. As an Affiliate of the Centre his research will be focussed on the Crown’s legacies in post-independent India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth’s influence on South Asia, 1947-72. He was previously hosted by the Centre as Smuts Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies where he worked on his concept of “Eastminster”, which examines how the British parliamentary model worked in Asia as it emerged from British rule. His work covers Commonwealth and South Asian political and constitutional history, particularly during the period of decolonization in the twentieth century. His most recent book is Constitution-Making in Asia - Decolonisation and State-Building in the Aftermath of the British Empire.
I am a historian working primarily on South and Southeast Asia. My broad research interests include migration and its role in spurring social and political change, sub-imperial systems, inter-ethnic relations, and the dynamics of citizenship, race and status in colonial systems. My first book, Mobile Citizens: French Indians in Indochina, 1858-1954, is due to be published by NIAS Press and is based on a PhD in history awarded from SOAS in 2009. At the Centre for South Asian Studies I will be furthering a study of geopolitical tensions and transnational connections established by the exile to Saigon of the Burmese Prince Myngoon Min and his entourage, with funding from a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.
Dr Elaine Desmond is a sociologist whose work focusses on legitimation, risk and democracy, with a particular focus on Telangana, India. She has written a forthcoming book entitled Legitimation in a World at Risk: The Case of Genetically Modified Crops in India, and has taught Environmental Sociology, Globalisation and Development and Research Methods at University College Cork. Dr Desmond is also affiliated with the Ireland-India Institute at Dublin City University and the University of Hyderabad in Telangana/Andhra Pradesh. Her current work projects include a book on legitimation, risk and the secession of Telangana state. Further details of her work can be found at: https://ucc-ie.academia.edu/ElaineDesmond
Dr. Adeeba Aziz Khan joined Wolfson College as a Junior Research Fellow from 1 October 2016. Her PhD studied the relationship between formal and informal institutions and how these affect law making in Bangladesh. She is currently working on her book monograph. As an Affiliate of the Centre her research will be focused on the relationship between Informal Institutions and Judicial Development of Law in Bangladesh.
Dr Sariffodeen completed her MPhil (1999) and PhD (2003) at the University of Cambridge, UK, under the guidance and supervision of Dr Gordon Johnson. Her PhD thesis captured the political associations of Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake (1935-1952), the First Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, giving predominant focus to the attainment of independence.
After completing her PhD, Dr Sariffodeen joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supporting humanitarian emergencies: the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka (2004-2009); protracted Afghan refugees and IDPs affected by civil strive in Pakistan (2010-2014); and Syrian refugees in Turkey and IDPs in Syria through cross border action (2014-2016).
As an affiliated scholar of the CSAS, Dr Sariffodeen will complete her research in establishing a complete biography of DS Senanayke (1884-1952) and a monograph series on Indo-Ceylon Relations.
Cleo Roberts is UCG-UKIERI PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool, and Visiting College Research Associate at Wolfson College Cambridge. She is researching the colonial representation of the Ganges. Having been named the Association of Art Historians New Voice in 2014 and received India National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage scholarship for research in India she has lectured internationally at The India Council for Cultural Relations, Princeton University, University of Cambridge, Royal Asiatic Society and Wellcome Trust. She consults for Art History UK, and has written reviews and articles for ArtAsiaPacific, ArtUK, The Conversation, Dissertation Reviews. She was recently selected as a founding young scholar for Curator Reviews, an initiative developed by Stanford University, where her leading essay will analyse ‘Envisioning South Asia’ as an emerging academic field, and identify exemplary works from early career researchers for review.
Recently she has been pursuing her research interests working on an exhibition at Wolfson College supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and part of India Unboxed. During this period she has given a paper concerning Clara Quien at the Paul Mellon Centre which will be worked into an article for Art History.
Apurba Kumar Podder has completed his PhD in Architecture from the University of Cambridge. His PhD thesis examined the relationship between the neo-liberal policies in Bangladesh and their impact on the growth of illegal agricultural bazaars in coastal cities. His thesis argues that neo-liberal policies directly promoted the growth of chronically illegal status of agri-bazaars in urban areas as a powerful instrument for internal class exploitation of the poor. He is now working on his first monograph entitled, The making of ‘illegal’ marketplace: State, class and space in Khulna c. 1951-2008.
Parul Bhandari is a researcher at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities (CSH) since December 2014. She completed her PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge in 2014. Her PhD was supported by the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. Her doctoral thesis explained the makings of middle class identities through the processes of spouse-selection. For her post-doctoral research she has shifted attention to the study of elites, particularly the rich housewives of Delhi, focusing on their relationship with money and exploring the themes of honour and humiliation in their everyday lives.
She is writing two books: One entitled 'Exploring Indian Modernities: Ideas and Practices' (Springer forthcoming 2017), which unpacks the category of the 'modern' from a multidisciplinary perspective. The second book is based on her PhD.
Victor Lal was Reuters, Wingate, and Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. His field of interest is the history of constitution-making in the British Commonwealth, especially the imposition of ‘Communal Constitutions’ during the colonial period which later gave rise to violent racial and ethnic conflicts in Kenya, Malaysia, Guyana, Sri Lanka and in his native Fiji Islands.
As a direct descendant of Indian indentured labourers who were shipped to Fiji in 1879 to work the sugar plantations, Lal is very interested in the history of the Indian Diaspora and its relationship with ‘Mother India’.
Lal’s main interest of focus is Mahatma Gandhi's relationship with the Indian indentured labourers in South Africa and the role of Gandhi and other Indian nationalists in the ending of the Indian Indentured labour system in the British colonies.
During his time at the Centre, Lal is hoping to complete three manuscript projects:
(1) Policing Gandhi in England: The Mahatma’s 1931 Visit to London and the Metropolitan Police Archives
(2) A biography of Reverend Annie Barr: Gandhi’s Unitarian Minister in the Khasi Hills of India
(3) Forging Unity with Africans: Nehru and Central African Federation.
Lal is also planning to expand and re-publish his three articles on The Unitarians of the West and the Brahmo Samajees of the East at Manchester College, Oxford 1896-1948, which recently appeared in Faith and Freedom: A Journal of Progressive Religion.
Victor Lal will be dividing his time between Cambridge and Oxford where he is Visiting Scholar in the Oxford Centre for Global History.
Affiliated to Clare Hall, was Professor of Asian History at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Areas of interest: Southeast Asian trade and state formation in the early modern era; environmental and conservation history; problems of resource and environmental sustainability in the context of global trade, corporate investment, and political culture
Dean of Arts and Social Sciences and Chairperson of the History Department at Government College University, Lahore. Allama Iqbal Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge between 2010 and 2015.
Department of Sinhala, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.