British Association for South Asian Studies

News & Events

28 January 2021

BASAS Conference 2021 *Registration now open*

*Registration open until 28th February 2021*

The local organising committee in Edinburgh now welcome BASAS members to register for this year’s annual conference. The conference takes place 20-23 April and is hosted online by the University of Edinburgh. Instructions for the registration process can be found on this link, including a link to the registration system.


Edinburgh University will host the BASAS annual conference between Tuesday, 20th of April and Friday, 23rd April 2021. The conference will be held online in light of ongoing uncertainties and disruptions caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As with the Southampton conference that had to be cancelled in 2020, there is no specific theme for the conference - we invite proposals from across humanities, arts and social sciences for both panels and independent papers within the broadest reach of South Asian studies, and including work on diasporas and the Indian Ocean world.

Why will the conference be Online?
Whilst we very much hope that the pandemic will be past the worst in 2021 we have decided to plan for an online event for the following reasons. It is clear, as of now, that the pandemic has not yet reached its peak in many parts of the globe including South Asia. Simultaneously, European countries that were emerging from lockdown have experienced significant spikes in recent weeks. International travel continues to be uncertain and fraught with risk – if only that you may need to self-isolate on arrival or return. We did not want to be in a position where we either had to cancel the event or deter delegates from particular countries from attending. We also hope to make the conference as accessible, safe and welcoming as possible to all irrespective of age, health-conditions and location. We also recognise the environmental benefits of reduced travel,

How will it work?
We are working with IT colleagues at the University to ensure that colleagues will be able to present their work to, and discuss it with, an audience. Talks will also be recorded and stored on a secure website for the duration of the conference to enable those who could not make the session or who experienced IT issues, to listen in at a later point. Questions will be taken in person and can be posted using the ‘chat’ function.

I mainly go to conferences for the socialising and networking. Why should I attend this?
Whilst the informal sociality of a live event will be missing, we are aiming to maximise the opportunities for delegates to interact and engage in conversations. Delegates will be able to message each other through the conference platform – allowing people to ask follow-up questions, or connect through video-links. Time will be allocated to enable panels and/or research clusters to interact to discuss common interests.

How much will it cost?
Although we do need to charge in order to cover IT costs (the neo-liberal university does nothing for free anymore), and charges will depend on numbers of delegates, the conference will be considerably cheaper than normal, and costs will be finalised before you need to register. As always, you will also need BASAS membership to take part.

We are very sorry that we will not be able to welcome you in person to our beautiful city (, or more unusually, but we hope to be able to welcome you to BASAS nonetheless and to enjoy the same degree of intellectual exchange and stimulation that one expects of this annual event.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at: