President’s Book Prize

Established in 1971

The South Asian Studies Association (SASA) and its journal South Asia were both formally established in 1971. They were the outcomes of the growth in teaching and research on South Asia that had developed over the previous 15 years.

Submissions Open Now!!

The SASAA President’s Prize is a biennial prize that rewards outstanding scholarship in South Asian Studies, in any discipline, by scholars at any stage of their research careers. The committee seeks original, scholarly monographs authored by SASAA members with a copyright date of 2022 and 2023, that make substantive contributions to South Asian Studies.

Authors should submit a cover letter outlining (1) the substantive contribution made by their book to the field of South Asian studies globally and (2) Early evidence of the quality of their book (reviews, early citations, early signs of impact on the field).

Three copies of the book must be submitted. Please note that most publishers will be happy to provide examination copies for the purposes of entering book prize competition.

Cover letters should be sent to the President of SASAA, Adam Bowles (email: Books can be sent by your publishers directly to the members of the judging panel. Please have your publisher contact the President for contact details of judges.

Past Winners

The joint winners of the 2020-2021 SASAA President’s Book Prize are Dr Malini Sur for Jungle Passports: Fences, Mobility and Citizenship at the Northeast India-Bangladesh Border, and Dr Nisha PR for Jumbos and Jumping Devils: A Social History of Indian Circus.

The jury conferred that Jungle Passports highlights the global injustices of the twenty-first century “in which efforts to fortress territorial boundaries and ultranationalism are forcing people toward uncertain border crossings and violent encounters with increasingly hostile nation-states.” This tirelessly researched, engagingly written, and thoughtfully argued book merits widespread recognition.

The jury also conferred that Jumbos and Jumping Devils is a path-breaking book that is a splendid tribute to the universe of the circus as it has functioned in India over the last two centuries. The jury noted that given the depth of the analysis and the quality of the presentation of the material the book is likely to have a long shelf life and become a major source for understanding of the itinerant peripatetic world of the circus. This wide-ranging book explores performing bodies and the constraints of performance, the inter-relationships between animals, the circus and the state, the complexities of circus tents and tenting, and the relationships between circus workers and trade unions.

SASAA would like to thank the jury comprising of Emeritus Professor Robin Jeffrey, Honorary Reader Jim Masselos, Professor John Zubryzcki, and Professor Assa Doron for their time and engagement with the nominated volumes.