The Bayly Prize 2020

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 ChaseSchool 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 and to the other short-listed candidates.


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.


The timetable for the competition is as follows:

Submissions must be sent to Alison Ohta ( and Amy Riach ( by Wednesday, 31st March, 2021. 

The winner will be announced in October 2021.

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 Sunil Amrith, who is stepping down as an adjudicator after three years of service. ​