Bayly Prize Update

The Society is delighted to announce that the adjudicators for the Bayly Prize have reached their decision about the winners for the 2021 competition. The judges report a gratifyingly strong field of submission with three dissertations being of outstanding merit:

Mallika Leuzinger, University College, London, Dwelling in Photography: Intimacy, Amateurism and the Camera in South Asia.

Stefano Gandolfo, University of Oxford, The Streams of Knowledge: Organising the Siku Quanshu.  

Shreyashi Dasgupta, University of Cambridge, The Accommodation City: Private Low-Income Housing and Urban Space in Dhaka and Mumbai.

After deliberation, the judges decided to award the Bayly Prize to Dr. Mallika Leuzinger. The Society would like to congratulate Mallika and the finalists for their hard work and we look forward to welcoming them for a presentation at the Society in due course.

Mallika and Shreyashi have both shared with us an overview of their research and what they have been up to since completing their thesis.

Dr. Mallika Leuzinger:

Image of Mallika Leuzinger


Mallika Leuzinger studied History and Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge and completed her PhD in Art History at University College London. She has since been a Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University and a Visiting Researcher in the Institute for Asian and African Studies at HU-Berlin and IWM Vienna. From November 2021, she will be based at the German Historical Institute in London.

Mallika is interested in postcolonial modernity, gender, everyday technologies and archives. Her dissertation attends to the spaces and relations of “domestic” photography, examining the practices of Haleema Hashim, a Kutchi Memon woman in the south Indian port city of Cochin, and the peripatetic Bengali twin sisters Manobina Roy and Debalina Majumdar, as well as how their work has been retrieved and reconfigured over the past decades. It also considers the ongoing mobilization of the camera as a tool for women’s empowerment in the Global South by NGOs, artists and academics. Her new project is titled Archival Imaginaries and the Politics of History in South Asia, and looks at the rise of crowdsourced, digital platforms dealing in histories of the subcontinent.

Dr. Shreyashi Dasgupta:


Image if Shreyashi Dasgupta


Dr Shreyashi Dasgupta is the incoming ESRC Research Fellow at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. She has a PhD (2020) and MPhil (2015) from the Centre of Development Studies and Girton College, Cambridge. Her research interests include urban and labour geography, political ethnography, housing and infrastructure in cities of the Global South.

Shreyashi’s doctoral dissertation, “The Accommodation City: Private low-income housing and urban space in Dhaka and Mumbai” explores the emerging forms and processes of temporary accommodation (dormitories, mess housing, work-residence rentals and paying guests/room-sharing) for low-income workers. Using an ethnographic approach, her work seeks to understand how accommodation matters ‘in’ and ‘for’ cities. She is also a committee member of the Development Geographies Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and manages the David W Smith Memorial Prize for sixth form students. Originally from Kolkata, India, Shreyashi received her undergraduate degree from Sophia College for Women and master’s degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Next week, we will hear from Stefano Gandolfo and his research on the Siku Quanshu.  

Archives Hub Feature for September:

The Society’s Archivist has written about the cataloguing of the Oriental Translation Fund papers for September’s Archives Hub feature. This can be read here:


The Afghanistan File: Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan:

Please see below information about a forthcoming event at the Royal Society for Asian Affairs.

The Royal Society for Asian Affairs welcomes Prince Turki Alfaisal who will deliver the Hugh Leach Memorial Lecture on Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 2pm.

Prince Turki was Director of the General Intelligence Directorate of Saudi Arabia from 1977 to 2001. Afghanistan dominated his work for twenty years. The Soviet invasion, war between the mujahideen factions and the rule of the Taliban killed millions, made refugees of millions more, destroyed the Afghan economy, de-skilled the country, destroyed its capacity for effective self-government and fed new and destabilising forces in the region. Prince Turki is uniquely equipped to illuminate the era and Saudi Arabia’s role in it. In 2019 he was awarded Afghanistan’s highest honour, the Ghazi Mir Bacha Khan Medal.

Prince Turki was Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland 2003-2005 and to the United States 2005-2006. He is Founder and Trustee of the King Faisal Foundation and Chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS).

Hugh Leach devoted much of his life to understanding the Arabian Peninsula and Afghanistan, and it is therefore particularly fitting that these two elements are brought together in this memorial lecture.


Image of Prince Turki Alfaisal. Copyright: The Royal Society for Asian Affairs


Please note that this will be delivered as a hybrid event, held live at the Royal Geographical Society and online. Online participation is open to all. Attendance in person is open only to RSAA members and invited guests. The link to register for online participation can be found here: