Dr Siobhan Lambert-Hurley
BA (University of British Columbia) and PhD (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
Reader in International History
Women, gender and Islam in South Asia
+44 (0)114 22 22586 | Jessop West 3.08
On Research Leave 2016/17
Siobhan Lambert-Hurley completed her BA in Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver before moving to the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London to study for her PhD in History. She joins the History Department at the University of Sheffield in the autumn of 2015 from the Department of Politics, History and International Relations at Loughborough University. Her research on women, gender and Islam in South Asia has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the AHRC, the British Academy, HEFCE, and the Social Studies and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and she was visiting faculty at the University of British Columbia in 2013-14. Recently, she led an international research network funded by the AHRC on 'Women's Autobiography in Islamic Societies' and a teaching project funded by the Higher Education Academy on 'Accessing Muslim Lives: Translating and Digitising Autobiographical Writings for Teaching and Learning'.
Her current project funded by the Leverhulme Trust is 'Veiled Voyagers: Muslim Women Travellers from Asia and the Middle East' (2015-18).
Royal Asiatic Society – Fellow
British Association of South Asian Studies – Member
Journal of Pakistan Women’s Studies – Member of Advisory Board
Siobhan Lambert-Hurley is a cultural historian of modern South Asia with particular interests in women, gender and Islam. She has written on education, social and political organisations, Indian princely states, the culture of travel, missionaries and personal narratives. There is strong interdisciplinary aspect to her research reflected in her analyses of how different literary genres, including reformist writing, travelogues and autobiography, have evolved in South Asia in the modern period.
Her early work focused on Muslim women’s participation in socio-religious reform movements in India in the early twentieth century. Her first monograph, Muslim Women, Reform and Princely Patronage (Routledge, 2007), emphasised the role of Nawab Sultan Jahan Begam of Bhopal, the female ruler of a Muslim principality in central India, in providing essential leadership and patronage to a burgeoning network of Indian women reformers. Emerging out of this work were two book projects that used travel writing by South Asian Muslim women to offer insights into imperial and global history: an edited edition of a nineteenth century hajj narrative entitled A Princess’s Pilgrimage: Sikandar Begam’s A Pilgrimage to Mecca (Indiana University Press, 2008) and a co-authored book with Sunil Sharma entitled Atiya’s Journeys: A Muslim Woman from Colonial Bombay to Edwardian Britain (Oxford University Press, 2010). The latter’s significance to a project of historicising a multicultural Britain also led to contributions to the AHRC project, ‘Making Britain: South Asian Visions of Home and Abroad, 1870-1950’
Her current project focuses on autobiographical writing by Muslim women in South Asia. The aim is to trace changing notions of the self in the modern period by examining how women write their lives in a social and cultural context that idealises women’s anonymity. This research has led to journal articles in Modern Asian Studies, Journal of Women’s History and Journal of the History of Sexuality, as well as two major book projects: an edited volume with Anshu Malhotra entitled Speaking of the Self: Gender, Performance and Autobiography in South Asia (Duke University Press, 2015) and a forthcoming monograph tentatively entitled The Ultimate Unveiling: Gender, Autobiography and the Self in Muslim South Asia. Connected was her leadership of an international research network funded by the AHRC on 'Women's Autobiography in Islamic Societies' and a teaching project funded by the Higher Education Academy on 'Accessing Muslim Lives: Translating and Digitising Autobiographical Writings for Teaching and Learning'.
At present, she is also leading a three-year project entitled 'Veiled Voyagers: Muslim Women Travelers from Asia and the Middle East' funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2015-18). It is a collaborative project with Sunil Sharma (Boston University) and Daniel Majchrowicz (Northwestern University). Veiled Voyagers will recover, translate, annotate and analyze Muslim women’s travel writing from a range of languages in order to draw out the gendered relationships that inhere between travel and Muslim identities, nationalism, and the shaping of global power. The project’s final outputs will include an annotated book edition, as well as an online repository of Muslim women’s travel texts in both the original and translation.
I welcome research students interested in women’s history, Islam, autobiography, the culture of travel, education, and/or princely states in modern South Asia.
Current PhD students (at Loughborough University) include:
Maximilian Drephal, ‘The British Legation in Kabul, 1922-48’
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
“To Write of the Conjugal Act: Intimacy and Sexuality in Muslim Women’s Autobiographical Writings in South Asia”, Journal of the History of Sexuality 23:2 (May 2014), pp. 155-81.
“The Heart of a Gopi: Raihana Tyabji’s Bhakti Devotionalism as Self-Representation?” Modern Asian Studies 48:3 (May 2014), pp. 569-95 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X12000704
“Life/History/Archive: Identifying Autobiographical Writing by Muslim Women in South Asia”, Journal of Women’s History 25:2 (Summer 2013), pp. 61-84.
“Forging Global Networks in the Imperial Era: Atiya Fyzee in Edwardian London” in Susheila Nasta (ed.), India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858-1950. Basingstoke: PalgraveMacmillan, 2012, pp. 64-79.
“Muslim Women Write Their Journeys Abroad: A Bibliographic Essay” in Shobhana Bhattacharji (ed.), Travel Writing in India. Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2008, pp. 28-39.
“Subtle Subversions and Presumptuous Interventions: Reforming Women’s Health in Bhopal State” in Anindita Ghosh (ed.), Behind the Veil: Resistance, Women and the Everyday in Colonial South Asia. New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2007; London: Palgrave, 2008, pp. 116-38.
“Historicising Debates over Women’s Status in Islam: The Case of Nawab Sultan Jahan Begam of Bhopal” in Waltraud Ernst and Biswamoy Pati (eds.), India's Princely States. London: Routledge, 2007, pp. 139-156.
“A Princess’s Pilgrimage: Nawab Sikandar Begam’s account of hajj” in Tim Youngs (ed.), Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Century: Filling the Blank Spaces. London: Anthem, 2006, pp. 107-27.
“Introduction: Problematising Discourse and Practice” (with Avril A. Powell) and “An Embassy of Equality? Quaker Missionaries in Bhopal State, 1890-1930” in Avril A. Powell and Siobhan Lambert-Hurley (eds), Rhetoric and Reality: Gender and the Colonial Experience in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 1-15 and 247-81.
“Out of India: The Journeys of the Begam of Bhopal, 1901-1930,” Women’s Studies’ International Forum, 21:3 (June, 1998), 263-276; reprinted in Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton (eds). Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005, pp. 293-309.
“Fostering Sisterhood: Muslim Women and the All-India Ladies’ Association,” Journal of Women’s History, 16:2 (summer, 2004), pp. 40-65.
“Introduction: A Princess Revealed” in Abida Sultaan. Memoirs of a Rebel Princess. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. xiii-xxxix.
“Princes, Paramountcy and the Politics of Muslim Identity: the Begam of Bhopal on the Indian National Stage, 1901-1926,” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 26: 2 (2003), pp. 169-195.
I have shown my commitment to public engagement with South Asian and Muslim history in a number of ways. With a grant from the Higher Education Academy, I developed a new digital archive, ‘Accessing Muslim Lives’, in collaboration with partners at Edinburgh University. Though used primarily in higher education, it also enables the general public to explore the lives of men and women in the Muslim world from the sixteenth century to now through their autobiographical writings.
I have also worked as a contributor and consultant on a number of historical documentary projects for the BBC and other television networks. Programmes on which I have appeared include ‘The Maharara’s Motor Car: The Story of Rolls Royce in India’ and ‘Heir Hunters’. I have also published journalistic pieces in the Indian press for magazines, like City Limits and Outlook Travellers. Here is a link to a short video of some of my early TV work: https://vimeo.com/46360933
I have given a number of lectures for A-level students, including at Loughborough University’s ‘Inspiring Minds’ event. I would be keen to pursue further links with schools, using the history of South Asians in Britain to facilitate discussion of multiculturalism and citizenship.
I fulfilled many key administrative roles at Loughborough University that demonstrate my leadership roles in research and teaching. In 2014-15, I was Director of Study with primary responsibility for ensuring the high quality and standard of learning, teaching and assessment across the taught provision (undergraduate and postgraduate). From 2009 to 2013, I was Director of International Study, responsible for recruiting, coordinating and assessing students who study abroad. I have also sat on the Research Committee, convened departmental seminar series and symposium, and acted as Equality and Diversity Officer.
At the University of Sheffield, my administrative roles include: