Recent RAS news

Congratulations to Bayly Prize winner Dr Lexi Stadlen whose first book ‘Nine Paths: A Year in the Life of an Indian Village’ was published by Penguin Random House yesterday. The book is a work of narrative non-fiction which follows the lives of nine women from a remote Muslim village at the eastern edge of rural India.


“Revelatory, lyrical and immersive, this is an extraordinary book that takes you deep into these ordinary women’s worlds. Anthropologist Lexi Stadlen spent sixteen months in this village, talking, listening, and getting to know these women, who were willing to share their complicated, fascinating lives. Their stories are urgent and forcefully articulated – and this book gives us the chance to hear them.”


Dr Stadlen won the 2019 Bayly Prize for her PhD thesis ‘Weaving lives from Violence: Possibility and Change for Muslim Women in West Bengal’. The judges said:


“Written in an evocative style this work draws the reader into the world of the thesis. With nuanced observations and attention to detail, the subjects accumulate over the chapters, so that through the focus on individual people we learn of different themes and topics. This is an innovative and daring thesis driven by particular ethnographical constraints that are placed at the centre of the writing to produce an unique account.”

Dr Gordon Johnson, Dr Taylor Sherman, Dr Lexi Stadlen, Dr Ahmad Moradi, Dr Radha Kapuria, Dr Sahil Nijhawan and Dr Anthony Stockwell

For more information on Nine Paths please see the publisher’s site:


We are currently accepting applications for this year’s Prize, submissions for which will close next week, Friday 17th.


Last month also saw the publication of RAS Council Member Dr Jochen Sokoly’s Social Fabrics: Inscribed Textiles from Medieval Egyptian Tombs, which he edited with Mary McWilliams.

Social Fabrics looks at tiraz—highly prized textiles enhanced with woven, embroidered, or painted inscriptions in Arabic—to trace the structure of medieval Egyptian society during a transformative period. It reveals a story as interwoven and complex as these delicate objects themselves. A foundational introduction to the topic, this exhibition catalogue combines richly illustrated entries with essays on the history of Egypt at the time, the meaning and materiality of tiraz, and the history of collecting these objects in U.S. institutions. Created throughout the region (including lands now in Iran, Iraq, and Yemen) in the centuries following the Arab Muslim conquest of Egypt, inscribed textiles were a visual form of communication in a society that was ethnically, linguistically, and religiously diverse. Those with inscriptions regulated by the government were particularly valued, proclaiming their owners’ membership in the ruling elite.

With contributions by Robin Hanson, Mary McWilliams, Meredith Montague, Nasser Rabbat, Jochen Sokoly, David Stern, Katherine M. Taronas, Julie H. Wertz, Elizabeth Dospel Williams, and Meredyth Lynn Winter.

For more information:


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