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SOAS South Asia Institute

SOAS Charles Wallace India Fellowship, 2015-2016

Who is the fellowship for?

One fellowship is awarded annually by the SOAS South Asia Institute (SSAI) and the Charles Wallace India Trust to a scholar who has had no, or little opportunity, to conduct research outside India.  The 3 month placement at SOAS, University of London should be taken predominantly during term-time (January–May).

Who is eligible?
  1. Applicants must be Indian nationals and be residing in India at the time the application is submitted.  
  2. Applicants must have completed a PhD and must be working in the fields of ‘India Studies’ (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) which are supported at SOAS. For a list of subjects please check the Taught Masters programmes on the SOAS website. Applicants may not hold the Fellowship for the purpose of, or in conjunction with, enrolment in any Higher Educational Institution in the United Kingdom (including SOAS). 
  3. Applicants must be in the early to middle stage of their academic careers.
  4. Candidates must demonstrate sufficient English language ability, both written and spoken, to participate in discussions and use resource materials.
  5. Applicants must state if they are in receipt of any other grant, or are awaiting results of other applications.  Failure to do so may result in the fellowship being withdrawn.
The 3 month visiting Fellowship is intended:
  1. To contribute actively to the Institute’s research environment;
  2. To provide SSAI members and research students with the opportunity to work with leading academics from outside SOAS;
  3. To develop and promote links with academic institutions in India; and
  4. To offer academics from India the opportunity to collaborate in joint research with SSAI colleagues.
Visitor Contribution

Visitors are expected to give a talk in the Institute’s seminar series and take part in the general intellectual life of the School (e.g. active participation in seminars). They may also be asked to contribute to one or more of the following Institute's activities:

  1. Give a talk in a Departmental seminar series, or a paper in a conference;
  2. Collaborate on a research project with a member, or members, of the Institute;
  3. Provide an article for the Institute’s working papers series;
  4. Develop a research proposal to apply for an external funding award through the Institute; and
  5. Contribute to the SSAI’s network of contacts (academic, practitioner, policy-making and/or media).

Application Procedure
Details on how to apply will be made available in the new year, 2015.

A complete application will comprise:

  1. The application duly filled in (including Section 12, list of your Publications and Section 16, a Description of your Proposed Research including an explanation of why SOAS in particular is an appropriate venue for you to pursue this research).
  2. Two letters of recommendation.
Notification of competition result

All applicants will be notified by e-mail regarding the outcome of their application, generally by the end of October 2016.  Applicants who submit an ineligible or incomplete application will not be contacted.

The School is authorised to release the names of successful fellows and their research topics as it deems fit.

Charles Wallace India Fellowship 2014-2015 Recipient

  • Dr Hemjyoti Medhi
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of English and Foreign Languages, Tezpur University, Assam
  • Research Title: The Sipini Bhoral (Weavers’ Store), the Mahila Samitis and the trajectories of a women’s weaving cooperative in late colonial Assam, India
  • As part of the Charles Wallace India Trust SOAS Visiting Fellowship 2014-15, I shall try to enrich my ongoing project to understand the Mahila Samiti (women’s association) movement in colonial Assam. Mahila Samitis were founded in the first two decades of the twentieth century in several towns of the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam, in northeastern parts of British India. I understand that a culture of establishing cooperative societies as an extension of the swadeshi movement flourished in early twentieth century British India. The Abhay Ashram in Coomilla, Eastern Bengal (present day Bangladesh bordering Tripura, India) was often referred to as a model institution of swadeshi, self-sufficiency in Assam. The first sipini bhoral (weavers’ store) established by the Kamrup Mahila Samiti in Guwahati (1928) germinated with this idea of swadeshi. It was quickly followed by Tezpur Mahila Samiti in 1931. However, minutes of mahila samiti meetings over two decades suggest that while the samitis were initially successful in their cooperative ventures, they struggled with new policies of the nationalist government in 1948-49. I am interested in understanding the shifts at policy level that impacted a nascent women’s cooperative like the sipini bhoral.

Charles Wallace Trust

The four Charles Wallace trusts support a number of other fellowship schemes and aid for postgraduate students. You can find further information and guidance by visiting their website which will give you access to information on the individual trusts.