PhD opportunity: Women collectors of South Asia: gender, material culture, and empire
The University of Lincoln and the British Museum are pleased to announce
the availability of a fully-funded Collaborative doctoral studentship
from October 2020 under the AHRC’s Collaborative
Doctoral Partnership Scheme. We encourage applications from
suitable candidates with relevant experience, as well as coming from an
academic background. This studentship can be studied full or part-time.
This project explores the critical role that women played in collecting
objects from South Asia during the colonial and post-colonial eras,
highlighting the agency of women of all backgrounds in the formation of
museum collections and knowledge production.
This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Sarah Longair and Dr
Sushma Jansari and the student will be expected to spend time at both
the University of Lincoln and the British Museum, as well as becoming
part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across
This project will investigate the lives, collections, activities,
writings, and networks of women collectors and donors of material
culture from South Asia to the British Museum and other collections in
the UK. It will explore how and why women collected objects
and what motivated them, how they acquired knowledge about their
collections and the dynamics of their donation of objects to museums.
With a focus on objects from South Asia, this project will be set in a
colonial and/or post-colonial context, during which South Asian,
British, and later British South Asian women negotiated the challenges
of living under the British Empire and its aftermath.
It will make an important and original contribution to our
understanding of the British Museum as well as other institutions,
demonstrating how gender, race, and empire influenced the forging of
collections. It will examine how far collecting and engagement
with material culture was a means for women to establish their own
network, and how these factors aligned with or challenged racial and
social divides in imperial and post-imperial settings.
Using the British Museum as a starting point, it will trace the lives of
selected women and their collections and donations to the British
Museum and other UK museums. Objects themselves will be studied as well
as associated archival material. Personal papers
and publications will shed further light on the way in which women
collected and donated, the networks within which they acted,
intermediaries who assisted them, and how this knowledge was
disseminated. The research will require the student to spend time
at the British Museum, along with other museums and archives.