SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Dr David Lunn

BA (Cantab); MA, PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


David Lunn
SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)


Dr David Lunn
Email address:
020 7898 4294
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Tuesdays 10.30–12.00, or by appointment


David received his PhD from SOAS in 2012, following an MA from SOAS and BA from Clare College, University of Cambridge. He then joined the European Research Council project Musical Transitions to European Colonialism in the Eastern Indian Ocean, based at King's College London and led by Dr Katherine Butler Schofield. He returned to SOAS in 2015 as the Simon Digby Postdoctoral Fellow, commissioned to edit the published and unpublished works of the late Simon Digby, and prepare these for a new collected works series of this renowned scholar’s many significant writings. These are forthcoming from Oxford University Press (New Delhi) in ten volumes.

Elements of his doctoral research on Hindi, Urdu, and the politics of language in early twentieth-century India have been published in Bioscope and Modern Asian Studies. His time on the Musical Transitions project has resulted in published collaborations on a previously neglected Malay sha’ir, chronicling the Muharram commemorations in Singapore in 1864, and on the poetry and song of the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II viewed through the prism of emotions and conceptual history. Most recently, David has begun a project on the Indo-Irish writer and satirist Aubrey Menen, and his first publication on that now little-remembered author appeared in the 2019 volume ‘Queer’ Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender.

David acts as the SOAS Academic Staff Liaison for the Queer Asia network and conference.


Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society



David is particularly interested in literary and cultural production in Hindi-Urdu, including cinema and theatre as well as poetry and prose, especially in the early 20th century. He also works on 19th-century cultural and intellectual transformations in India and the Malay world.



Lunn, David (2018) 'Across the divide: Looking for the common ground of Hindustani'. Modern Asian Studies, (52) 6, pp 2056-2079.

Lunn, David and Byl, Julia (2017) '‘One Story Ends and Another Begins’: Reading the Syair Tabut of Encik Ali'. Indonesia and the Malay World, (45) 133, pp 391-420.

Byl, Julia and bin Raja Halid, Raja Iskandar and Lunn, David and McCallum, Jenny (2017) 'The Syair Tabut of Encik Ali: A Malay account of Muharram at Singapore, 1864'. Indonesia and the Malay World, (45) 133, pp 421-438.

Lunn, David (2015) 'The Eloquent Language: Hindustani in 1940s Indian Cinema'. BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, (6) 1, pp 1-26.

Book Chapters

Lunn, David (2019) 'Queer Desires and Satirised Empires: Notes on Aubrey Menen’s A Conspiracy of Women (1965)'. In: Luther, J. Daniel and Ung Loh, Jennifer, (eds.), Queer Asia: Decolonising and Reimagining Sexuality and Gender. London: Zed Books, pp 125-145.

Lunn, David and Schofield, Katherine Butler (2018) 'Delight, Devotion and the Music of the Monsoon at the Court of Emperor Shah ‘Alam II'. In: Pernau, Margrit and Schofield, Katherine Butler and Rajamani, Imke, (eds.), Monsoon Feelings. New Delhi: Niyogi Books, pp 219-254.

Book Reviews

Lunn, David (2018) 'Review of Walter N. Hakala, Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia (New York: Columbia, August 2016)'. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, (41) 1, pp 238-240.

Lunn, David (2016) 'Review of Shobna Nijhawan, Women and Girls in the Hindi Public Sphere: Periodical Literature in Colonial North India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012)'. South Asia Research, (36) 2, pp 290-292.


Schofield, Katherine Butler and Lunn, David (2018) 'The SHAMSA database 1.0 – Sources for the History and Analysis of Music/Dance in South Asia, c. 1700–1900. (Version 1.0)'.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Lunn, David (2022) Disappointed by The Chair? Try this Spanish alternative.

Lunn, David and Habib, Adam and Clark, Phil (2022) A social pact between university heads and unions could address the current workforce crisis.

Lunn, David (2019) Interview: Salman Rushdie on his latest novel, ‘Quichotte’.

Lunn, David (2019) The Syair Tabut, an overlooked scroll.

Lunn, David (2019) Can Urdu and Hindi be one language?.


Lunn, David (2019) 'Hindustani' Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, 2019.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 3rd July 2022, 00:19 Europe/London.