British Association for South Asian Studies

News & Events

16 November 2020

BASAS Conference 2021


Thank you to everyone who has submitted an abstract for the BASAS Annual Conference 2021 []. We have had a good response so far and it’s great to see abstracts submitted from near and far. A large number of submissions and enquiries did occur in the final stages and we have had a number of queries from people who did not quite get their proposals in. To encourage those who may not have made the submission deadline we are extending it to Monday, 30 November 2020.
Please send paper or panel abstracts to:

nb. Due to the extension of this deadline, decisions on paper and panel proposals will be delayed. We aim to get back to people with decisions as soon as possible after the new deadline and by 15th January at the latest.

We anticipate this will be a fantastic event and we look forward to your participation!


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. Panel and paper submissions for the 2021 conference are now accepted.

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. We will automatically consider all abstracts passed on to us by Southampton.

Submission Guidelines

Panel proposals (150-200 word abstract)
We welcome proposals for panels dedicated to particular topics. Panels will last for 90 minutes with 3-4 papers in each. It is advisable that proposals allow sufficient time for the presentation of papers as well as discussion (panels with 4 papers have 15 minutes per paper, panels with 3 have 20). You will be responsible for constituting the panel.
Panel Proposals should include:
• Title of session
• Name, affiliation and contact details for session convenors as well as abstracts outlining scope of session (150-200 words)
• Panel proposals are to be accompanied by individual paper abstracts for each of the proposed panel members (100-150 words).
• Please note: Incomplete panel proposals will not be accepted. Panel organisers are expected to have confirmed speakers and chair prior to submitting.
• The conference organisers may seek to add additional individual papers to accepted papers, in discussion with panel organisers.

Individual Paper Proposals
Paper Proposals should include:
• Title of paper
• Abstract (100-150 words)
• Name, affiliation and contact details for presenter.

Deadline for submission of abstracts
Please submit your panel and paper proposals to the conference organisers at by the deadline of 15th November 2020.

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: