While onsite events remain suspended, the Society's Reading Room has now re-opened on an appointment basis and we continue to run an active events programme online. Staff are contactable and should you have any enquiries, can be reached by email:

Director: Alison Ohta
Email: aoATroyalasiaticsocietyDOTorg

Librarian: Edward Weech
Email: ewATroyalasiaticsocietyDOTorg

Archivist: Emma Jones
Email: ejATroyalasiaticsocietyDOTorg

Journal Executive Editor: Charlotte de Blois
Email: cdbATroyalasiaticsocietyDOTorg

We send our best wishes to all our members and supporters. We hope everyone stays virus free and we look forward to resuming our full programme of activities once this difficult time has passed.

RAS 034.016
A portico of four columns. Ram Raz Collection c.1825
RAS 077.001 (37-39)
Kunisato Triptych: View of Akabane, Yedo, early evening. From an album of theatrical prints presented by Herbert Charles Fanshawe, December 1923
RAS 063.034
Tod Collection: Rana Jai Singh of Newar being weighed, Udaipur
RAS 063.042
Demons and kings seated in two main rows. Illustration from the Adi parva of the Mahabharata.

Latest News: Lectures, Collections and Prizes

March and April Events

To register for any event please contact Matty at mb AT royalasiaticsociety DOT org who will send you a zoom link to attend.

9th March Dr Simon Kaner's Lecture has been postponed to later in the year, exact date tbc
16th March Dr Hannah Theaker 'China’s Little Mecca: Changing Islamic Landscapes of China’s Northwest in the Late Qing, 1860-1911'
23rd March Dr Ronan Lee Book Launch of 'Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide: Identity, History and Hate Speech'
25th March RAS Collections Evening

These events will take place at 6.30pm GMT over Zoom.


Submissions are now invited from graduates of any British or Irish university who have completed and been approved for the Ph.D degree for a thesis in the field of Asian studies in a subject falling within the scope of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society or of Modern Asian Studies. The thesis must have been examined and approved for the PhD degree at a British or Irish university in 2020. The date of the final approval letter must fall between 1st January and 31st December 2020. Please consult the website of the Royal Asiatic Society for details on how to apply, under the About Us tab at Bayly Prize Applications and Nominations (https://royalasiaticsociety.org/about-us/the-bayly-prize-applications-and-nominations/)
The Society has appointed the following to be the adjudicating panel for 2021:
Dr T. C.Sherman (LSE) Chair; Professor Naoko Shimazu (NUS); Professor Susanne Brandtstädter (Koln); Professor Rebecca Empson (UCL); Professor Arne Westad (Yale);
The Society records its thanks to Professor Carole McGranahan and to Professor Sunil Amrith for their work as they step down as adjudicators.
The timetable for the competition is as follows: Submissions must be sent to Alison Ohta (ao@royalasiaticsociety.org) and Amy Riach (ar@royalasiaticsociety.org) by Wednesday, 31st March, 2021. The winner will be announced in October 2021.


The Society is delighted to announce that the adjudicators for the Bayly Prize have reached their decision about the winners for the 2020 competition. The Society regrets that present regulations governing social events during the pandemic prevent us from holding the usual prize giving celebration. Such an event will be organised later in the year when conditions permit. The judges report a gratifyingly strong field of submission with three dissertations being of outstanding merit:
Liana Chase, School of Oriental and African Studies, Healing ‘Heart-Minds’: Disaster, Care, and Global Mental Health in Nepal’s Himalayan Foothills.
Hannah Theaker, University of Oxford, Moving Muslims: The Great Northwestern Rebellion and the Transformation of Chinese Islam, 1860-1896.
Hedwig Waters, University College, London, ‘Living from loan to loan’: Tracing networks of gifts, debt and trade in the Mongolian borderlands.
After further deliberation, the Prize is awarded to Dr Liana Chase: congratulations to her, Dr. Hannah Theaker and Dr. Hedwig Waters, the other short-listed candidates.

Chinese Letter Hongs Project Now Live


A new project on the history of Chinese private letter hongs is now online at: https://letterhongs.com/ This website is devoted to the long history of letter exchange and letter writing by Chinese people, from the early nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century. The efficient operation of private letter hongs was noted by British observers in the nineteenth century including Sir George Thomas Staunton, Herbert A. Giles, and Sir Robert Hart, who founded the Great Qing Imperial Postal Service. Visit the site to see many original letters and learn more about this fascinating aspect of cultural history.

Upcoming Events

  1. Dr. Suna Cagaptay Virtual Book Launch

    April 26 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  2. Dr Weipin Tsai Virtual Lecture

    April 28 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Facebook Posts

In our latest blog, Dr. Amy Matthewson talks about a recent article she has written for the journal around her work in making accessible Chinese glass lantern slides from the Society's collections.


#rascollections #rasjournal
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In our latest blog, Dr. Amy Matthewson talks about a recent article she has written for the journal around her work in making accessible Chinese glass lantern slides from the Societys collections. 


#RASCollections #RASJournal

Please join the Islamic Art Circle tomorrow evening (21st April) at 6pm for a virtual lecture by the Society's Director Dr. Alison Ohta on 'Mastery and Magnificence: the Qur'ans of Uljaytu'.

To register, please email: rw51@soas.ac.uk
... See MoreSee Less

Please join the Islamic Art Circle tomorrow evening (21st April) at 6pm for a virtual lecture by the Societys Director Dr. Alison Ohta on Mastery and Magnificence: the Qurans of Uljaytu. 

To register, please email: rw51@soas.ac.uk
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