Prizes and Grants

The South Asian Studies Association of Australia offers funding opportunities for scholars, students and institutions to promote the dissemination of knowledge, information and scholarship on South Asia. It also administers a range of prizes and awards annually and biennially.

Event Funding Scheme

2018 SASAA Event Funding Scheme supported the Symposium on ‘Platform Capitalism, Communication and Culture in South Asia’ held at Curtin University’s Bentley campus in Perth on the 18th and 19th June 2019

Funding is available for SASAA members who wish to organise a workshop, symposium or conference that will be of interest and value to other SASAA members and the broader scholarly community. One round of funding will be disbursed every year, subject to the availability of funds. The total sum available for the Scheme will be advised by the Treasurer before every round, and the SASAA executive and general committee will determine the maximum sum available per grant, calculated in proportion to the total sum available. In determining successful applications, SASAA will consider activities which:

  • Facilitate research-oriented networking;
  • Build the skills of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and postgraduate students;
  • Advance the primary goal of the SASAA, namely, to promote interest and expertise in the study of South Asia and/or support collaboration between scholars and universities to generate growth and visibility for South Asian Studies.

2018 SASAA Event Funding Scheme supported the Symposium on ‘Platform Capitalism, Communication and Culture in South Asia’ held at Curtin University’s Bentley campus in Perth on the 18th and 19th June 2019.

In 2021, SASAA has decided to provide funding to two events of interest and value to other SASAA members and the broader scholarly community.

  • ‘Transnational resistance to ethnoreligious nationalisms in South Asia: Invitation to an interdisciplinary symposium from Dr. Nisha Thapliyal & Dr. Mridula Nath Chakraborty to be organised at the University of Newcastle from 12-13 July 2022.
  • ‘Right-wing politics and civil society in South Asia’ from Dr DB Subedi and Prof. Howard Brasted to be organised at the University of New England campus in Sydney in late 2021.

Congratulations to the winners! Look out for more updates on these events coming soon…

President’s Book Prize

The SASAA Presidents 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 that make substantive contributions to South Asian Studies. Nominations may be made by authors, publishers or SASAA members.

The winners of the 2018-2019 SASAA President’s Book Prize are Profs Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey, for Waste of a Nation: Garbage and Growth in India (Harvard Uni Press 2018). This book generates new insights on India’s complex history of nation building in relationship to caste, labour, waste and place-making. Waste of a Nation is an important teaching resource and makes a valuable contribution to the study of waste and nation-building in anthropology and history and is a must-read for anyone interested in South Asian societies and politics.

The jury also conferred an honourable mention to Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic by John Zubrzycki.

SASAA would like to thank the jury comprising of Dr Malini Sur (Western Sydney University), Associate Professor Peter Mayer (University of Adelaide) and Professor Emerita Marika Vicziany (Monash University) for their time and engagement with the nominated volumes.

Call for Nominations are now closed. 

Conditions for eligibility include:

  • The book must be an original, scholarly monograph authored or co-authored by SASAA members.
  • It must have a copyright date of 2020 or 2021.
  • The monograph must make a substantive contribution to South Asian Studies

Nominations may be made by authors, publishers or SASAA members. For more information about how to submit a book for consideration, please contact SASAA President Dr Priya Chacko at:

Hugh Owen Prize

Each year the South Asian Studies Association of Australia (SASAA) offers the Hugh Owen prize for the best undergraduate essay in South Asian studies. For the purposes of the prize, the term ‘South Asia’ covers the nations of the Indian subcontinent and is taken to include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Essays are invited from all disciplines.

The prize (value AUD $250.00) is awarded to the best undergraduate essay on South Asia in any field written as part of an undergraduate course of study each academic year, including Honours. The maximum word limit for the essay is 4000 words.

Hugh Owen was one of the key people behind the drive to establish a professional association of scholars in Australia and New Zealand concerned with the study of South Asia. Hugh undertook the difficult task of setting up the journal, South Asia, and established its pre-eminent standards, style and academic standing. Over the seven years of his editorship he succeeded in turning South Asia into a major journal concerned with South Asia studies outside the Indian subcontinent. While heavily involved in this work, Hugh was also a charismatic scholar and teacher and, at the University of Western Australia, was brilliantly successful in building up exciting undergraduate courses in the subject area and also in attracting an array of very bright and enthusiastic postgraduate students. This prize commemorates Hugh’s pursuit of excellence and his efforts to achieve that amongst his students. The prize was set up in 1988 following Hugh’s death and is funded by a grant from his estate through Mrs Terry Owen and with the continued support of SASAA.

We are now accepting nominations for the best undergraduate essay on South Asia submitted in 2021 with the final submissions due by February 28, 2022.

Please forward eligible essays via email to Dr Zahid Shahab Ahmed (Secretary, SASAA) at

Hugh Owen Prize Winners

2020: Jacob Antoine (University of Melbourne)

Essay Title: Mobile Culture: Foodways in the Diaspora


Janani Balasubramanian (University of New South Wales)

Essay Title: Reel versus Reality: The Caste Consequences of a Superstar Shrouded in Right-Wing Hindu Nationalism

Judges: Dr. Jagjit Plahe, Dr. Mridula Nath Chakraborty and Dr. Sarah Homan

SASAA Distinguished Long-Term Contribution Award

  1. The award will be given to nominated recipients (educators and/or researchers) for long-term contributions made to the work of SASAA and the field of South Asian studies
  2. Nominations will be accepted on a rolling basis.
  3. Nominators must be SASAA members.
  4. Members nominating a particular candidate should provide a profile of the candidate that provides grounds for the nomination. Pertinent information would include but not necessarily be limited to the following:
  • The nominee’s long-term commitment to SASAA
  • The specific ways in which the nominee contributed to growing, developing and shaping work of SASAA
  • The nominee’s contribution to the field of South Asian studies

The Award will consist of a certificate and life-time membership of SASAA.

Successful candidates will be bestowed the Award at the Asian Studies Association of Australia conference. The successful candidate will be invited to the conference and SASAA will pay the conference registration fee.