W rld SOAS
ISSUE 40 2016
THE MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI & FRIENDS
100 CELEBRATING ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH AND TEACHING
SOAS ALUMNI & FRIENDS FUND SUPPORT SOAS
and help to shape our next 100 years
HELP US TO GROW TALENT, CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND CULTIVATE THE SOAS EXPERIENCE OF FUTURE STUDENTS “As alumni of the School, many of you know that this is not just an average university.The education we receive here, and the vibrant and diverse dialogue that exists within these walls, is not something that can be manufactured. The current economic climate, increasing fees and continuing cuts to higher education continue to present stiff challenges, and I know first-hand that awards like this one can be the difference that makes an education possible. I am so grateful for the scholarship and would like to express my appreciation to SOAS alumni, especially if it could contribute to the continuation of funding awards for future students.”
Fatima Begum Zaman (BA Politics 2014), AFF scholarship recipient
“As we enter a new chapter in our long history, our students continue to engage with the world around them, with a passion for discovery and debate. With your generous gift, you can help this spirit of SOAS to live on for another 100 years.” Professor Emeritus Paul Webley CBE, former SOAS director MAKE A GIFT AND SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS • Scholarships • Bursaries and welfare support • Innovative student projects
Please help us to support students by making a gift to the SOAS Alumni & Friends Fund online at www.soas.ac.uk/makeadifference
04 NEWS 08 THE SCHOOL’S CENTENARY lobal network of INCOGNITO ACADEMIC 10 SOAS’
alumni across A centenary story 80 countries 12 EUROPE’S REFUGEE CRISIS worldwideProf Richard Black shares his opinion 14 A BRITISH CHEF IN CHINA
Alumnus Jamie Bilbow on a food mission in China
18 DESTRUCTION OF ART IN IRAQ Prof Charles Tripp on ISIS and demolition
22 SANITATION IN INDIA Prof Phillippe Cullet takes a holistic approach
26 YOUR ALUMNI NETWORK Mapping SOAS research and crowdfunding for students
30 AFRICAN AFFAIRS
ee the SOAS website
I was honoured to join SOAS as its ninth Director in September last year. As SOAS alumni, you know how special SOAS is. Everywhere I go, I meet alumni who remember their years at SOAS with fondness. I look forward to playing a part in continuing to grow SOAS’ reputation as a place of scholarship and excellence given our expertise and experience in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This years marks our 100th academic session and the start of our centenary celebrations, including the expansion of our Russell Square campus with the opening of the North Block of Senate House. I would like to thank the many alumni and friends who have generously supported the SOAS Senate House Appeal. I hope that you will return to campus this September to celebrate 100 years of SOAS during our centenaryIf undelivered, please return to: special Alumni Weekend on 9 and 11 September. In the SOAS Alumni Relations, Room 101, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, UK. meanwhile, I look forward to hearing your views about SOAS is an exempt charity: Inland Revenue Number X14199 how best SOAS can position itself to meet future challenges – please do send me your thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to this current andWith bigger best editionwishes, of SOAS World, our magazine for SOAS alumni and friends. Alumnus Johnnie Carson on his diplomatic career
AS MN LU OA I S LU S A NI S UM AS SO UM AL SO MN A OA MN LU OA NI S ALU AS NI A I SO MN S A OA MN LU OA NI AL AS NI UM AS I SO LUM S A I S MN S A OA M NI LUM AS I S LU S A I S MN S A SOA UM AL SO NI AL AS N LU OA I S LU S NI O M L O I M S O M N U A S U LU SOA NI ALU AS NI UM AS I SO LUM S A I S MN S A OA MN ALU SOA NI AL AS NI M S SO M A SO N A A N LU OA I L S I M S S UM OA NI AL AS NI LUM AS I SO LU S A I S MN S A SOA UM AL SO NI AL OA N S SO UM AL SO NI AL AS MN LU OA I S LU S A NI S UM AS SO UM S I AL AS N U A S U A I S M S O M L O N A A N UM A I S MN S A OA M LU O NI AL AS N UM AS I S LU S I I O M A N O NI LUM AS I S LU S A I S MN S A SOA UM AL SO NI AL AS N I SO N A OA MN LU OA I S LU S NI UM AS SO UM AS I S LU S A I S MN S A OA M AL SO NI AL AS N O M U I A N O U AL AS N LU A I S LU S A I S M S SO M UM A I S MN S A OA M LU O NI AL AS N I A N O U S L L S I NI UM AS S U A I S MN S A OA M SO N A OA MN LU OA I S LU S NI AS I S LU S A I S MN S A OA M AL OAS MN LU OA I S LU S NI UM A I S MN S A OA M N O NI LUM AS I S LU S I SO N A OA MN AS I S LU S I AL OAS MN I UM NI
Welcome to SOAS World, your alumni magazine
Inside you’ll find the best of SOAS’ unique regional expertise and specialism in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. In addition to the news, classnotes, books and events sections, this spring issue Alumna Anahita Sadighi on Asian arts includes an exclusive interview with renowned alumna and honorary graduate Zeinab Badawi on her work in South Sudan, and features on the Yemini and wider Arab Spring revolution, the role of internet literature in China, a look at the ‘austerity doctrine’, and a view on recent events in South Asia. This has been an exciting year for SOAS, not least with the news that the School is moving into the North Amos, campus in the heart of Bloomsbury in 2015. This exciting Block of Senate House and Valerie creating a single-site opportunity offers a significant potential for growth and development as we prepare to commemorate our Alumna Chloe Evans shares her research SOAS Director centenary in 2016, and as we plan for our next 100 years. You can find more information on our centenary Contact us: plans in the magazine. We are also happy to enclose your new Alumni ID card, enabling you to visit SOAS whenever you want. Alumna Anwesha Arya at the spoken word Alumni Relations Offilooks ce (R101) As always, we would love to hear your feedback, so please do take the time to fill in the alumni update SOAS, University of London Please send all correspondence to: Alumni Relations, SOAS form (overleaf) or email us at email@example.com. Thank you once again for supporting SOAS and we hope University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG. Thornhaugh Street you enjoy reading SOAS World.
31 FROM SOAS TO BERLIN
32 BOOK WORLD 34 PORTRAITS FROM SENEGAL
36 LANGUAGE LOST AND FOUND 39 OBITUARIES 40 THERussell DULWICH Square BOYS
Tracing the history Japanese London, WC1Hof0XG, UK Studies at SOAS
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all alumni, staff, students With bestofwishes, Zeba Francis - your Alumni and all friends SOAS who have&contributed to this issue. team Views
expressed are not necessarily those of SOAS. SOAS ALUMNI ONLINE AT: WWW.SOASALUMNI.ORG
SOAS alumni online at : soasalumni.org ■ Email: email@example.com
www.soas.ac.uk 18/09/2013 14:14
A roundup of developments from SOAS
Introducing the new Director of SOAS
VALERIE AMOS has been appointed 9th director of SOAS, University of London. The former politician and senior UN official took up the role in September 2015, following the retirement of Professor Paul Webley. Valerie Amos said: ‘I am honoured to be joining SOAS at this important point in its
history. SOAS is a special institution with global recognition for its research and teaching on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, bringing different perspectives to scholarship.” From 2010, Valerie served as Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN. Ms Amos served in a 4
number of roles in the public sector including in local government and as Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission. She was an adviser to the Mandela Government on leadership and change management issues and was appointed a Labour Life Peer in 1997. Baroness Amos went on to become the first black woman to sit in the British cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development. She became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in October 2003 and served as UK High Commissioner to Australia before joining the UN. “As SOAS alumni, you know that this is a very special place. This year we begin our 100th academic session and start our centenary celebrations. I look forward to hearing your views about how best SOAS can position itself to meet future challenges and I hope you will participate in our programme of alumni activities around the world.”
Dr James Mallinson being made a Mahant of the Sadhus - the first westerner to receive the honour - with Dominic West
Enlightenment at the Kumbh Mela DR JAMES MALLINSON, SOAS’ resident yoga expert and lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical Indian Studies, appeared in a BBC Four documentary together with friend and acclaimed actor Dominic West (The Wire; BBC’s The Hour), as the two undertook a pilgrimage to the world’s largest religious and human festival on the river Ganges, the Kumbh Mela. The documentary gave special access and insight into the unique event of James’
ordination as a Mahant, a cross between an abbot and a brigadier - the first time a westerner received this honour in this ancient order of master yogis. A world authority on yoga and Sanskrit, Dr Mallinson said: “I was delighted that this unique film on the Kumbh Mela festival was aired on British TV. I also had the chance to seek out traditional yoga practitioners to help with my on-going work researching the history of yoga.”
SOAS POSTGRADUATE Patrick Allen has been recognised for his phenomenal outreach work within his local community. A teacher who is now studying for a PhD in Music, Patrick has been announced as the winner of this year’s NUT Teacher Award in recognition of his work with the Ifield Community Choir and the Chagossian Drummers, who have recently featured on the artist Rihanna’s title song for the 2015 DreamWorks animated film ‘Home’. Patrick’s supervisor Professor Keith Howard, Department of Music, said: “Patrick is a phenomenal teacher who has used music to change lives: his PhD documents his work with the Chagossian Drummers – young people whose parents were displaced from the Chagos Islands when Britain leased the islands for the American Diego Garcia airbase – and shows how music can, in remarkable ways, unlock hidden abilities in underperforming children.”
Over 150 scholars joined benefactors and staff for the School’s annual Scholars’ Reception 2015, welcoming new scholars and thanking our supporters. Over 250 scholarships, bursaries and grants have been awarded to students from over 30 countries this academic year, made possible by the generosity of nearly 50 benefactors.
Strengthening ties with Beijing SOAS student wins Malay speech contest
A PARTNERSHIP between the two prestigious institutions of Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) and SOAS was strengthened signed last year on campus, with a formal visit by BFSU’ President, Professor Peng Long. This agreement paves the way for further learning and teaching activities, with plans for a joint conference on Area Studies to coincide with SOAS’ Centenary in 2016-17, dual degree programmes and SOAS academic input into the BFSU Summer School. The SOAS-BFSU addendum was included in the 8th UK/China Education Summit in September 2015. President Long also met with BFSU and China Scholarship Council scholars at SOAS, the first cohort on this three year scholarship programme for students from China (pictured). It is hoped that in total 50-60 students from China will benefit from the programme.
RECENT GRADUATE Joshua Parfitt’s outstanding performance at the International Public Speaking Competition in Malaysia secured him first place at the annual event. Joshua graduated with a BA in Music last year and studied Indonesian Language as an undergraduate during the final year of his degree. In just one year he mastered the language sufficiently to succeed in the competition for foreign learners of the related languages of Malay and Indonesian. His performance, where he gave a speech on sustainable development as well as his work with a Malaysian NGO the previous year, was so impressive that as well as winning $US 7,000 prize money he was also offered a scholarship from the Universiti Putra Malaysia to do a Master’s degree.
AWARDS AND HONOURS • Described as one of the most important musicians in Africa, SOAS has awarded an honorary doctorate to Toumani Diabaté for his impact in raising awareness of the West African kora as a world-class instrument.
• One of South Africa’s greatest novelists and critics, Nobel Prize-winning author J. M. Coetzee has been awarded with a SOAS honorary doctorate.
• Sinologist Dr Frances Wood was awarded an honorary doctorate for her outstanding contribution to scholarship in the arts, culture and history of China.
• SOAS PhD student Portia Owusu has secured a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to attend the University of Kansas in the United States. Portia will be joining a Fulbright community that consists of more than 50 Nobel Prize winners and 75 Pulitzer Prize winners. 6
• Alumnus Dr MN Nandakumara (PhD South Asian Studies 1980) was honored by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK with a lifetime achievement award for teaching and promoting traditional Indian arts and culture in the UK.
• Alumnus Sophie Bowman (MA Korean Studies 2012) was announced as the grand prize winner of the 46th Modern Korean literature translation awards, for her translation of a collection of poems by Jin Eun-young.
€2.5 million grant to study world literature
Twitter SOAS in 140 characters
PROFESSOR FRANCESCA ORSINI, Chair of the Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS), has been awarded an ERC advanced grant of €2.5 million to study world literature from the perspective of multilingual societies. Prof Orsini’s research project will explore the numerous, often fractured, and non-overlapping worlds of literature through case studies in north India, the Maghreb (led by Dr Karima Laachir), and the Horn of Africa. The project will focus on three periods: colonial consolidation, decolonisation, and the current globalising moment. The project will run for 5 years and will include three postdoctoral fellowships, three PhD scholarships, funds for academic visitors as well as ‘critical friends’ who work on other examples of literary multilingualism.
Michel Hockx @mhockx Modernisation of China in the spotlight at Beijing conference co-hosted by SOAS China Institute and Beijing Normal U Rachel Dwyer @RachelMJDwyer NAHIIIIIIIN...Indian railways signal end of an era with plan to phase out pantry car bit.ly/1Sn5M85 Richard Black @RichardBSOAS And wow! Anna Sowa and Friederike Luepke of @SOAS win best research film in last year #AHRC10. Well done! Lindiwe Dovey @lindiwedovey Thrilled to be in conversation with incredible Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul Valerie Amos @ValerieAmos Central role of women in ensuring development, peace, security and stability in Arab region stressed by speakers @ #BeirutInstituteSummit
Major restoration of Banteay Chhmar temple THE CAMBODIAN MINISTER of Culture and Fine Arts (MCFA), Phoeurng Sackona, visited SOAS with top officials to prepare a 5-year project to restore the major Cambodian temple of Banteay Chhmar. A SOAS Field School will deliver on-site training in a broad range of skills associated with conservation of the temple.This high level of commitment by the Cambodian government attests to the importance of the project for Cambodia and the growing reputation of the SOAS Southeast Asian Academic Art Programme (SAAAP). The Field School will be the first site in the region for SAAAP, whose purpose is to create a network of counterpart institutions sending students to SOAS on Alphawood scholarships. The alumni of the programme are key contributors to capacitybuilding in Southeast Asia. SOAS previously held a symposium on the vast late 12th century temple of Banteay Chhmar, which is the largest unrestored temple of Cambodia’s greatest king Jayavarman VII.
Christopher Cramer @CramerChristoph Inside the Jungle - the sprawling refugee encampment at the heart of Europe flip.it/5iNZC Tuukka Toivonen @Tuukka_T Democratic Socialism: “A form of socialism pursued by democratic rather than autocratic or revolutionary means” (OxfordDictionaries) #Bernie SOAS, Uni of London @SOAS WATCH: ‘Endangered languages: why it matters’ - @TEDx talk by SOAS’ Mandana Seyfeddinipur ow.ly/UsAs7 Follow us @SOASalumni 7
100 years of SOAS Remembering the past, shaping the future FOUNDED IN 1916, and with its first students enrolled in 1917, SOAS is celebrating its centenary from January 2016 to December 2017. A calendar of events and activities with our worldwide community will mark our achievements of the last hundred years and chart our future course as a scholarly resource of global relevance, guardian of specialist knowledge and champion of the issues and regions that matter in the 21st century. This includes the expansion of SOAS into the
newly developed North Block of Senate House, directly adjacent to the main Russell Square building. For the first time in decades, SOAS students will be united on a single campus, ensuring that future students can study, learn and grow in a modern environment designed around their needs and aspirations. This is an exciting time for the SOAS community, and we hope youâ€™ll be able to join us in the celebrations, both here on campus and around the world!
THE ROYAL CHARTER SOAS was founded as the School of Oriental Studies on 15 June 1916. The Royal Charter gave the School a unique mission and a dual obligation â€“ to advance academic knowledge of Asia and to impart instruction of a practical nature, providing the University of London with a rival to the famous Oriental schools of Berlin, Petrograd and Paris. The School immediately became integral in training British administrators and colonial officials for overseas postings across the British Empire.
Join us for our series of global events to celebrate the School’s centenary milestone. Hong Kong - Sep 2016 Lagos - Nov 2016 New Delhi - Feb 2017 Abu Dhabi - Mar 2017 New York - Mar 2017 Dates will be out shortly. For full information, visit www.soas.ac.uk/centenary
PLANNING OUR FUTURE Looking ahead to the next 100 years, SOAS aims to deepen its impact on Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Phenomenal economic growth in China and India, political upheaval in the Middle East, the burgeoning middle classes of Africa – our world class scholars are well-placed to provide the analysis and understanding of our rapidly changing world. Our new courses, such as BA International Relations and BA English are examples of the constant innovation we bring to our teaching programmes in order to equip and inform today’s and tomorrow’s global citizens and institutions.
100 YEARS OF SOAS
SOAS’ incognito academic inspires world’s most famous fictional archaeologist Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet in the Himalayas, is one of the world’s highest and remotest cities. In the early 1920s, quite apart from the physical challenges, to enter Tibet’s ‘forbidden city’ required the express permission of the Tibetan Government. Famously secretive, this permission was rarely if ever bestowed on ‘outsiders’. IN 1922, however, an American lecturer at SOAS (then known as SOS - the School of Oriental Studies, or School of Spies, depending on who you speak to/what you read) embarked on the trip despite not having secured the written permission to do so. The reverberations of that decision resulted in quite the diplomatic headache for the School, and also allegedly played a significant role in inspiring one of the most beloved and recognisable fictional film stars of all time, the intrepid adventurer Indiana Jones. The real-life model arguably had the more interesting life: Dr William Montgomery McGover was appointed as lecturer in Japanese at SOS on 6 January 1919. His Tibetan episode began in December 1921 when McGovern was identified as one of the leaders of an academic expedition to Lhasa. Knowing that attaining permission to visit Lhasa
Dr William Montgomery McGovern as he appeared on the inside sleeve of his book To Lhasa in Disguise
would be difficult, perhaps impossible, the Mission requested an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in order to represent the study of Buddhism in the Western world. Cleared to travel by the India Office, the Mission reached Gyantse in October of 1922, only to be refused a week later by the Tibetan government to continue on to Lhasa. Following several refusals and seemingly resigned to a failed Mission, Dr McGovern returned to London. However, undeterred by his comprehensive refusal of admission to Lhasa, McGovern took matters into his own hands; he adopted the disguise of a Tibetan coolie and paid local guides to take him across a hazardous mountain journey to the fabled ‘forbidden city’. Against all the odds, McGovern reached the city in February 1923. On arrival he revealed his presence to Tibetan authorities (a move McGovern later described as ‘foolish’) who provided him with dwellings and kept his presence secret from the city’s inhabitants. He was eventually discovered and a crowd of monks, angry at the deception, attacked the house he was staying in with rocks. The discovery of a Western man in Lhasa incensed the city and McGovern was expelled six weeks after his arrival at Lhasa. Upon his return to SOS in London, it was clear that the episode would not go overlooked. Between April and October 1923, much correspondence was shared between Sir J.P. Hewett, Chair of the School’s Governing Body, the India Office and Dr McGovern himself, who eventually resigned from his post as lecturer at SOS in a handwritten letter. In 1924, McGovern’s book To Lhasa in Disguise: A Secret Expedition through Mysterious Tibet was published. McGovern went on to work for the Chicago Times as their Far East correspondent. He served as a Naval Officer in the Second World War, his Japanese language skills a major asset in the Pacific Theatre. After the war, he returned to academia, teaching at Harvard, the Field Museum of
Top: The book’s inside cover clearly showing that McGovern taught Chinese and Japanese at the School of Oriental Studies Bottom: The SOS stamp imprinted within McGovern’s book, illustrating the School’s first location at No. 2 Finsbury Circus
Natural History in Chicago and lecturing for the US military colleges. Chicago’s Northwestern University became his academic home at the age of 33 when he was appointed as professor of Political Science, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. McGovern’s granddaughter is Academy Award nominated actor Elizabeth McGovern, perhaps best known for her most recent work as Cora, Countess of Grantham in the immensely popular TV series Downton Abbey. The lengths that McGovern would undertake for the sake of his research (and the scintillating anecdotes that came with it) were no doubt the reason he never seemed to have trouble filling his lectures and seminars with eager young academics and students. Whether he was right to do the things he did is of course a matter for debate, but what is abundantly clear is that McGovern was a man that was passionate about the world, its many cultures and its many peoples. SOAS is very proud to have him as a member of our academic alumni.
The discovery of a Western man in Lhasa incensed the city
Europe’s Refugee Crisis It is too early to say if September 2015 was a turning point in western Europe’s attitude towards migrants and refugees, but the tragic and very public death of Aylan Kurdi has certainly had a powerful effect on both public and political opinion. Professor Richard Black, SOAS Pro-Director for Research and Enterprise, shares his opinion on the continent’s biggest wave of displaced people since World War II. THERE IS MUCH TO UNDERSTAND – but one way of approaching the crisis is to think through the historical precedents, to consider whether they offer us pointers as to what the space is for political and public action. This is not easy, as historical precedents are never quite the same as what is going on now. But surely this is an area for analysis and debate that is currently lacking. Some have gone down this route. A recent excellent posting by historian Becky Taylor draws parallels between the public reaction to the Hungarian refugee crisis of 1956 and emerging signs of compassion and solidarity in Europe today, but the Hungarian uprising 12
crisis born of conflict that had engulfed the whole continent, where the sense of responsibility and urgency to find solutions was at a level that far exceeds what is likely to emerge today.
Asylum or containment?
is hardly comparable in terms of either the geopolitical circumstances (it happened at the height of the Cold War) or the numbers of refugees involved (an order of magnitude lower, at least). Others have suggested that the closest parallel involves the events at the end of the Second World War, as millions of people found themselves homeless or stateless, or indeed tried to move home. Certainly the period 1945-51 was a formative one: it was a crisis that gave birth to the UN Refugee Convention and established both attitudes towards refugees and a policy framework to deal with them for at least two decades. Yet that was also a refugee
Meanwhile, although the political and economic crises that are producing today’s flows of refugees and migrants have their epicentres outside Europe, if we look to other major refugee crises that have happened outside Europe, whether that is Afghanistan, Rwanda, Liberia, or more recently the exodus from Iraq following US-UK intervention in 2003, all share a crucial difference – relatively few of those displaced made it out of the affected region. Of course the fact that refugees from these earlier conflicts mostly found asylum – or were ‘contained’, if you prefer – in neighbouring or ‘transit’ countries in Asia, Africa or the Middle East is not in itself a good reason for inaction on the part of European states or disinterest on the part of European publics. But the fact that many of the countries that were places of first asylum or transit in these earlier crises – Syria, Libya, or Lebanon for example – are either no longer in a position to offer safety or security themselves, or are at the very least fullystretched, does force us to think differently about ways forward. And given the extent to which conflict has been ‘hidden’ from Europe by these artificial borders, and the ‘burden’ of hosting refugees (such as it is) has been borne by others, some might argue that this is about time too.
The Bosnia analogy Yet there is a modern-day European parallel that could help us to think about how to respond to events in Syria and elsewhere in the world in political, policy and indeed research terms to current events – and that is Bosnia in the 1990s. The political crisis in Bosnia happened over two decades ago but the similarities are striking to the current situations in Syria at least: a brutal civil war, fuelled by overt or covert external interventions from various sides – the West, Russia, and the Gulf 13
States; a territorial stalemate in that war which left ordinary citizens who had initially hoped to ‘stick it out’ either at home or close by to abandon hope for a resolution to the conflict, however imperfect; and a confused and vacillating approach from western states both to the conflict itself, and to the refugee crisis that it generated. But if this analogy is right, how does it help? Bosnia was hardly a crowning achievement of European refugee or foreign policy, and many of the debates we are having now about migration and refugees – about the role of trafficking, or the question of burden sharing – were unresolved then, which is perhaps why they are still current today. I would suggest the analogy does help, though, in three key ways. First, with the benefit of hindsight, and notwithstanding the many mistakes that were made in relation to the crisis in the wider former Yugoslavia, Bosnia does provide an example in which hundreds of thousands of refugees were accommodated in western Europe at short notice – especially across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the same countries most affected today – and who went home when the crisis was resolved. I am not suggesting that either the circumstances of their reception – much less
than Convention refugee status – or of their return – hardly the ‘voluntary’ return that states and international organisations asserted – were ideal. Nor am I suggesting that the crisis in Syria is clearly temporary. However, for those worried that each refugee or migration crisis adds additional people to be housed and found work, schools, healthcare, social care on a permanent basis, the Bosnia crisis does provide an alternative model for what can happen: it gives the lie to the assertion that there is ‘nothing so permanent as a ‘temporary’ migrant’. Second, what made the difference in terms of the resolution of the Bosnian conflict was
SOAS REFUGEE SCHOLARSHIPS With the worsening crisis in Syria and its impact on those trying to escape the crisis, we are delighted to announce that SOAS will be providing a package to cover full tuition fees and support for living costs to refugees within the UK. Recognising the extent of the crisis, the student scholarships will be available for four undergraduates and three postgraduate students starting in 2016/17. These student scholarships have been made possible by the School utilising funds as part of its fair access committment to all regardless of their background. For more information visit soas.ac.uk/registry/scholarships.
EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY ARMED CONFLICT Thanks to a collaboration between the Cultures of Resistance Network, the SOAS Students’ Union, International Students’ House and the American Friends of SOAS (AFSOAS), two postgraduate scholarships are available in 2016-17 at SOAS. The scholarship embodies the values of the Cultures of Resistance Network, which seeks to empower and enrich communities – especially those that have been affected by armed conflict – through the promotion of human rights, justice for victims of war crimes and the enrichment of civil society and robust grassroots democracy. For more information visit soas.ac.uk/registry/ scholarships.
when western Europe and the US started to engage with the crisis in a more coordinated way. Initially, the European approach to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia was all over the place – and nationalist politicians within Bosnia exploited these divisions and rivalries. We set up ‘safe havens’ for displaced people without really understanding how they would be defended, with terrible consequences. The parallels with Syria are striking. In the end, it did not need formal military intervention to end the war in Bosnia. But it did need a coordinated approach, and a clear strategy. In turn, coordination and strategy are so clearly lacking in relation to Syria – and our failure to push for a political solution ends up fuelling more violence. Third, looking back at the Bosnia crisis, one of the problems facing Western diplomacy was that it was always difficult to see which side ‘we’ in the West should be on – as Yugoslavia’s religious, political and economic fault lines mirrored those in the wider Europe. Indeed, as political solutions were explored and parties finally brought to the negotiating table, those who took part were the nationalists from all sides. By contrast, those Bosnians who had believed in a multi-ethnic pluralist Bosnia had been systematically sidelined. This last point sets us the most difficult challenge, since the political, economic, cultural and religious complexities of the current conflict in Syria – and indeed conflicts fuelling refugee crises elsewhere in the world – are no less than that of Bosnia. Yet grapple with complexity we must – in a way that is informed not by simplistic or ideological narratives, but by integrated understanding of the region’s politics, culture and history.
TELLING A STORY… Alumnus Benjamin Dix (BA Geography & Development 2003) founded PositiveNegatives in 2011, a non-profit company that uses multimedia technology to convey stories from marginalised communities to a large and diverse audience. He gathers information and stories through face-to-face interviews and testimonials, then commissions artists to represent these in interactive comics. Ben’s most recent project, commissioned by NGO Norwegian People’s Aid, tell the true stories of Khalid, Mohammad and Hasko, who fled their homeland of Syria and made their way to Europe. The three part comic series was launched at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo in November 2015. positivenegatives.org
STAR at SOAS: Student Action for Refugees is a student-led national charity comprising of 13,000 students at over 30 universities across the UK, working to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. Together they volunteer at local refugee projects, campaign and fundraise to improve the lives of refugees, and raise awareness about refugees and asylum issues. Follow STAR on Twitter @STAR_SOAS
Professor Black took up the post of ProDirector at SOAS in September 2013, coming from the University of Sussex where he had been Head of the School of Global Studies since 2009. His research has focused on the relationship between migration and poverty, forced migration, and most recently on migration in the context of climate change, and he has field experience across various countries of sub-Saharan Africa. 15
F E AT U R E : X X X X X
Jamie Bilbow: A British chef in China From learning Chinese at SOAS to ‘blowing’ pig liver on camera in Heqing, we meet the SOAS alumnus making his mark in culinary China. BORN IN ENGLAND, Jamie Bilbow moved to Hong Kong with his parents at the age of one. He lived in the city almost 18 years, and there began his interest in both cooking and Chinese culture. Attracted by the opportunity to meet like-minded people and to learn the language of the country he loved, Jamie applied to study Chinese at SOAS. He talks of learning Chinese at SOAS as a great experience: “the course was extremely well structured, teachers were passionate about the subject they taught and inspired students to want to learn. Teachers preached excellence and we were encouraged not just to be language learners but also to become language experts.” 16
The opportunity to experience China in the second year of the course helped strengthen Jamie’s belief that he had made the right decision to learn the language. After graduating from SOAS, Jamie immediately spent three years in Beijing where he first took part in a global Chinese speaking competition. He represented Britain - competing against 120 university students from around the world in a televised language competition held in Hunan, China. Following on from this, Jamie consolidated his plans to integrate his love for cooking with his interest in China. He remodeled an old Beijing tricycle to act as a portable kitchen workspace and decided to sell
The other Jamie on a food mission: meet SOAS’ Jamie Bilbow (BA Chinese & Management 2011)
homemade hummus through the streets of Beijing. This unusual sight garnered interest from local media and created opportunities to meet many local food figures. Jamie then proceeded to run a cooking workshop for a year and a half in Beijing, each week bringing ten Chinese strangers of different age groups and social backgrounds together to learn about cuisines from around the world. He found that the surging popularity of his cooking classes reflected the cosmopolitan tastes of China’s growing middle class. After running the cooking classes, Jamie spent 3 months writing a Chinese cookbook,
introducing ‘western’ classics as well as some of his own creations. Upon publishing the book he was offered to present his own television series, ‘Origins of Food’ (天涯厨王) aired on CCTV (China Central Television). The task: to lead the audience on an adventure through Yunnan Province in search of the best local ingredients, learning cooking techniques from local chefs and innovating and sharing new fusion recipes using Yunnanese ingredients. In an interview with CCTV Jamie discusses one of the more memorable moments of the series, “out of the ten episodes of Origins of Food, the most memorable has to be learning how to blow pig’s liver in Heqing. I still wonder whether this dish was one big joke at my expense! My facial expression in the show said it all, the moment the smell of raw pig liver hit my nose, added to the fact it was stuffed with chilli that made my mouth burn made for some comedy gold!” Since the TV series aired Jamie has taken on another area that interests him – teaching. After working as a Chinese teaching assistant for a year in Hong Kong, he is now currently enrolled at the Institute of Education doing a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages (Chinese). Jamie is grateful for the springboard that SOAS has given him to reach this point, “I have spent the last eight years learning Mandarin and using it to achieve my goals. My journey started at SOAS, the language skills I gained and the educational values SOAS instilled in me have helped prepare me for the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. My experiences as a cooking master class teacher, author, TV presenter, Chinese teacher and even as a street vendor in Beijing, have all helped to fuel my belief that learning Mandarin can truly open doors for young people. SOAS provided me the platform and the foundation needed to go on and realise my potential. I will always be grateful to the dedicated staff in the Chinese department whom I maintain a good relationship with to this day. Moving forward I plan to continue making innovative TV content for both Chinese and Western audiences, travel as much of the world in the process, I also plan to complete my PGCE at the IOE to become a qualified Chinese teacher and continue to try to do myself and SOAS proud!” 17
The artifice of the destruction of art in Iraq SOASâ€™ Professor Charles Tripp on ISIS, the spectacle of demolition, profit and piety
The remains of several temples and the ancient walls that surrounded them can be seen from atop the highest temple in the center of the ancient city of Hatra, 2004. The buildings and statues have since been destroyed by ISIS. 18
POLITICS IS FREQUENTLY ABOUT THE SPECTACULAR and in this, as in so much else, the grouping ISIS is no different from any other political organisation. For much of 2014 the world’s media and the internet were saturated by ISIS generated images of shootings, beheadings, crucifixions, defenestrations and mutilations of people whom the group had decided should die and
die most publicly. This was intercut with filmed acts of destruction of Shi’i, Christian and Yezidi places of worship, as well as of Sufi shrines and of prophets’ tombs in Mosul. In 2015, ISIS focused on other aspects of the rich cultural and archaeological heritage of Iraq. Assyrian and other statues in the Mosul Museum were destroyed, as they were at Nineveh, Nimrud and Khorsabad where sections of the ruins were bulldozed. A similar fate befell the Parthian ruins of Hatra where buildings and statues were demolished. This is all presented as spectacle, to ensure as wide an audience as possible, knowing the impact that this will have on the outside world. The intention is to shock, but also perhaps to be a riposte to the military setbacks suffered by ISIS since January 2015. In the films, the acts of destruction are accompanied by voiceovers claiming that ISIS is doing the work of God by destroying idols that ‘had been worshipped instead of Allah’. In one video shot in the Mosul Museum the spokesman states ‘we do not care if we could have made billions of dollars’. The casual mention of a market price (even if an inflated one) for the artefacts that were being destroyed in the name of piety should alert one to what else might be going on. Because ISIS has framed these spectacular events in a language of religiosity, asserting that its adherents are acting as nothing less than the instruments of God’s will, the pietistic aspect has coloured much of the coverage.
The politics of faith Yet spectacle can be used as much to distract as to impress. So it is worth thinking about the other political features of these alleged acts of faith. In the first place, far less spectacular, but considerably more profitable materially, has been the systematic looting of countless archaeological sites in areas of Syria and Iraq controlled by ISIS. This has been going on for about two years, carried out by units of ISIS or farmed out, under lucrative licenses, to the many freelancers who have seen this as a golden opportunity for self-enrichment. Smuggling routes and networks have facilitated the export of artefacts, creating a constant and reliable income stream for ISIS 19
leadership and for the networks that it has franchised. The use of graven images as commodities, especially when this is for personal profit, as it often seems to be, scarcely conforms to any understanding of sharia or the example of the Prophet invoked by ISIS. Consequently, the acts of spectacular destruction of what remains can be a way of redirecting the gaze and of putting on a pious performance at the same time. There are strong suspicions that this was precisely what has occurred at the Mosul library and at other institutions which house collections of rare manuscripts that are under the control of ISIS. Figuratively, but also on some occasions literally, a pile of unremarkable printed books were burned in front of the library, whilst sacks full of manuscripts and valuable printed material were taken out the back door. The whole operation was publicly justified with reference to the heretical or godless contents of much of the material in these libraries, but it was the market value that was of particular interest to the ISIS units charged with making the selection.
Competitive destruction The nature of these acts of destruction, their distribution and the timing of their occurrence would also suggest that they are the product of a developing politics within ISIS. The assault on statues in the Mosul Museum and at various archaeological sites seems to have occurred at least nine months after they came under ISIS control. It did not happen in the first encounter when pious outrage and the signalling of the religious zeal of the new order might have been expected to be at the fore. It was then that human communities and their places of worship were spectacularly and cruelly targeted. It is likely, therefore, that some of these acts of destruction are the product of what could be called â€˜competitive pietyâ€™ within ISIS. The organisation is not monolithic. It is made up of a number of groupings that saw some strategic purpose, and possibly profit, in coming together in 2013/14 and internal tensions exist between ideologues, opportunists and those who hope to use the destructive energy of ISIS for their own purposes. They have different priorities, but they share an insecurity common to all 20
ideologically driven organisations: the fear that they will be thought insufficiently committed to the most extreme version of the cause. Competitive destruction, like competitive murder, becomes a way of allaying suspicions of backsliding. This may be all the more necessary at a time when there have been hints of internal unease about the propriety, but also the distribution of revenue from the sale of artefacts. Their destruction becomes a way for one faction to pre-empt its rivals.
The salafi spirit In this respect, the salafi spirit of the reenactment of piety within the politics of ISIS should not be discounted. For such adherents, performing what they imagine are the actions of those who helped to found the faith is a key part of their identity. Destroying the winged bulls and other statues of gods and kings provides them with a chance to emulate what
they imagine to have been the example of the earliest Muslims in casting down the idols of the jahiliyya. It is part of their search for authenticity through bodily re-enactment and can also be projected as external proof of inner commitment. Finally, the destroyed artefacts may have fallen victim to a political impulse stemming from the challenge that ISIS represents to the nation states of Iraq and Syria. The treasures of ancient Mesopotamia are now paying the price for their 20th-century incorporation into the national myth of Iraq. Successive Iraqi
governments have done much to encourage the study of the extraordinary material legacies of Ur, Babylon and Assyria. But they have also used them in the project of Iraqi nationbuilding to persuade all the inhabitants of the valley of the two rivers that they share a common national heritage, regardless of present linguistic, ethnic and sectarian differences. Part of the political project of ISIS is to dissolve any such notion of national community, and so it is not surprising that the artefacts integral to it should become primary targets for destruction.
A world class specialist on Iraq, Charles Tripp is professor of politics with reference to the Middle East at SOAS and vice chair of the Council of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq. This article was first published in the â€˜Iraq - People and Heritageâ€™ issue of The Middle East in London (vol. 11, no. 4), a bimonthly magazine published by the London Middle East Institute at SOAS and a leading resource on Middle Eastern communities in London. For more information, visit www.soas.ac.uk/lmei/meil. 21
Taking a holistic approach to sanitation in India SOAS’ Professor Philippe Cullet explains why India’s sanitation crisis needs to move beyond the ‘toilet’ paradigm
SANITATION HAS EVINCED considerable interest from policymakers, lawmakers, researchers and even politicians in recent years. Its transformation from a social taboo into a topic of general conversation is evident from the fact that one of the central themes of a recent mainstream Bollywood film (Piku, 2015) was the inability of the protagonist’s father to relieve himself. While these are welcome developments, the need to urgently address the plethora of sanitation-related issues in India is undisputed. Inappropriate sanitation remains a major cause of waterborne diseases that adversely affect a significant percentage of the population. As a leading cause of water pollution, sanitation is also a key element of any discussion on environmental quality, given the centrality of water to environmental policy debates. On the positive side, the recent astronomical increase in the visibility of sanitation on different platforms has resulted in sanitation becoming the first key policy initiative of the new government elected at the Union level in 2014. The overarching Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) adds new dimensions to the sanitation debate and updates certain components of the existing policy framework, as in the case of rural areas. The launch of the SBM, and the enactment of a law prohibiting the abhorrent practice of manual scavenging in 2013 confirm the role of law and policy in addressing the various sanitationrelated issues. This is not news to people who have been working in the field but it highlights the importance of legal and policy instruments. However, there is still little or no clarity concerning the appropriate level and extent of intersection between sanitation and law and policy frameworks. Sanitation has often been and still is reduced to ‘toilets’ and ‘defecation’. This is accompanied by a limited understanding of what the achievement of an ‘open defecation free’ status entails. While these are central concerns, there are other equally important 23
issues that fall outside the mainstream ‘toilet’ paradigm but require immediate attention if the sanitation crisis in India is to be addressed in a holistic manner. The limited focus of the mainstream sanitation framework is one of the reasons why the law and policy frameworks concerning sanitation appear relatively limited when they are, in fact, very broad. In general terms, such frameworks seek to include (to varying extent): • Provision of toilets, including sufficient water to service them, and equitable and appropriate access for all; • Provision of proper wastewater treatment and disposal, and sewerage networks, or alternative means to ensure that black water does not contaminate sources of drinking water; • Making the link between liquid and solid waste and provision of solid and liquid waste management; • Consideration of the different needs in rural and urban areas, whether in terms of infrastructure, or environmental or social conditions; • Understanding sanitation as including manual scavenging. (Manual scavenging is a critical sanitation issue that was the first to be addressed in strong legal terms in the Constitution of India. However, the constitutional mandate to eradicate manual scavenging has not been entirely realised yet); • Linking sanitation workers and sanitation, as well as sanitation workers and manual scavenging since rehabilitated manual scavengers are often employed as sanitation workers; • Linking sanitation and health. (The link between sanitation and health is well established in practice but it requires further emphasis in the legal framework); • Linking sanitation, water and environment. (This is important especially in the context of the significant contribution that black water makes to water pollution, itself a key issue affecting environmental quality that can further be linked to health in the context of waterborne diseases)
‘Inappropriate sanitation remains a major cause of waterborne diseases’ The piecemeal nature of the existing legal instruments and policy documents need not be a hindrance to resolving the sanitation crisis. If we tackle the knowledge deficit and bring together the various legal and policy dimensions of the issue, we can better ensure environmental quality and public health for everyone.
Philippe Cullet is professor of international and environmental law at SOAS and is also a founding research director at the International Environmental Law Research Centre. He has co-authored ‘Sanitation Law and Policy in India: An Introduction to Basic Instruments’ (OUP Oxford, 2015) with SOAS’ Lovleen Bhullar. Philippe is convener for SOAS’ postgraduate degrees in environmental law in the School of Law.
Sanitation Law and Policy in India: An Introduction to Basic Instruments (OUP Oxford, 2015)
ALUMNI WEEKEND 2016
GLOBAL ALUMNI MONTH
To celebrate the School’s 100 years and the opening of our new Senate House North Block building on campus, we will be holding a centenary-special Alumni Weekend from 9-11th September 2016 on campus.
Following the campus-based Alumni Weekend, we will be celebrating our international alumni networks in the month of October 2016. Our Global Alumni Month will focus on events taking place across the world, inviting you to hold local events wherever you are in the world.
We do hope you can join us for a weekend of academic and guest speaker talks, interactive workshops, taster sessions and cultural events, all showcasing SOAS’ diverse and regional expertise. Our alumni will be one of the first people to be invited to view the new building during this special weekend. More details to follow soon, but for now, please do save the date!
Whether you are part of a large network in New York or simply just two people in Lilongwe, we want to see your photos of social alumni meet-ups, big or small! To get involved - and to help us showcase SOAS’ diverse alumni network and global impact - please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can register your location/city.
SOAS IMPACT Crowdfunding for student ideas - big or small - that have a positive impact on our world THE GENEROSITY of our alumni donors has ensured that the SOAS Alumni & Friends Fund (AFF) continues to make a difference to the lives of current students. Since the Fund’s creation in 2010, SOAS alumni have supported students through scholarships, welfare support, learning resources, and new skills and experiences. Student projects have been one of the key areas of AFF support over the past five years - and in May 2015, the Alumni Relations team launched the School’s first ever crowdfunding platform, SOAS Impact, to grow and further develop our support for students. One of the first UK universities to have its own crowdfunding platform, SOAS Impact empowers students with the skills to promote and fundraise for student projects, which aim to make an impact in the lives of their fellow students, the School, and the local and global community. Since the launch, our students have successfully raised over £13,500 from alumni, friends and family, staff and fellow students for their projects.
Afrikult crowdfunded for ‘Words that Travel’, a series of events celebrating and promoting African Literature. The events included poetry, storytelling, music and film with the aim of making African literature accessible to everyone.
The SOAS Samulnorians
The SOAS Samulnorians were able to take part in part in the 2015 World Samulnori Competition in Chilgok, South Korea and came third place in the international competition. SOAS’ Music department is the only academic institution to offer Samulnori as part of a BA Music degree. 26
Your Alumni Network ▲
The Ramadan Tent Project’s ‘Open Iftar 2015’
‘Open Iftar’ unites communities through the simple act of sharing a meal. The homeless and public at large were invited to break fast together during Ramadan. The project celebrates diversity, fosters interfaith dialogue and brings together communities.
What is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is an alternative method for students to raise funds for their projects at SOAS, in which the student owner takes the lead in attracting a ‘crowd’ of people to make an individual, small donation to a project. SOAS Impact provides an online platform for students to showcase their diverse range of projects to a potentially huge audience and gives sponsors an easy way to donate.
SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS
You are just a click away from getting involved and supporting smart ideas put forward by SOAS students! Visit soas.hubbub.net to support innovative student projects.
▲ Save the Helen Kanitkar Library
SOAS student and librarian, Mia Sullivan was able to raise the funds to keep the much-loved specialist anthropology library running at SOAS. 27
SHAPING OUR NEXT 100 YEARS: In this special edition of SOAS World, we share with you a selection of current research projects by our expert academics.
Global impact SOAS is a truly global university, with an influence far beyond its London home. With unique and unrivalled regional expertise, a far-reaching network of alumni and friends, and research that is changing lives around the world, SOAS is positioned to inform tomorrow’s global citizens and institutions.
01. INTERNATIONAL Global disarmament and the removal of arms and proliferation Dr Dan Plesch 02. INTERNATIONAL Curriculum for Cohesion: a systematic philosophy of contemporary Islam Dr. Matthew L N Wilkinson
SOAS’ research expertise in languages, political and social sciences, arts and humanities provides the resources and knowledge to equip people for a global economy and a multicultural world.
03.USA The military-law-society triangle Dr Hedi Viterbo
SOAS’ FIVE CENTENARY RESEARCH THEMES FRAME THE SCHOOL’S KEY ASPIRATIONS FOR ITS FUTURE RESEARCH IN THE FUTURE.
04. UK Islam in the UK gender, radicalisation and interreligious understanding in British Higher Education Prof Alison ScottBaumann
• Global voices • Heritage of humanity • Global interactions • Sharing a small planet • Global diplomacy and governance
05. SENEGAL Crossroads - working with Senegalese multilingualism Prof Friederike Lüpke
Read more about our research at www.soas.ac.uk/research
06. WEST AFRICA Religiosity and forms of ritual and art Prof Richard Fardon 07. WEST AFRICA Islamic reform and ‘Chrislam’ Dr Marloes Janson 08. AFRICA Fair trade and workers rights Dr Carlos Oya
Your Alumni Network
04 19 01
02 10 06
13 14 07
15 08 09
09. RWANDA/UGANDA Peace and disarmament - forgiveness, reconciliation and rescue Dr Phil Clark 10. EGYPT Neoliberalism and the police state - Egypt since Sadat Dr Michael Farquhar 11. MIDDLE EAST Mapping violence - civil strife and urban conflict Dr Nelida Fuccaro, Prof Laleh Khalili 12. MIDDLE EAST Military mobilities and mobilising movements Prof Laleh Khalili
13. INDIA Religious pluralism and Dalit activism in South India Prof David Mosse 14. INDIA Water rights in India Prof Philippe Cullet 15. INDIA Disaster reconstruction in Gujarat Prof Edward Simpson 16. TIBET Minority languages building an electronic Tibetan corpus Dr Nathan Hill, Dr Ulrich Pagel
17. CHINA High level collaboration on water sustainability Prof Lawrence Smith 18 CHINA Shakespeare and Tang Xianzuâ€™s China Dr Tian Yuan Tan 19. JAPAN Changing perceptions through art Prof Andrew Gerstle, Dr Angus Lockyer 20. JAPAN Hokusai, the world artist Dr Angus Lockyer
21. JAPAN / INTERNATIONAL Communicating across boundaries - linguistic and cultural projects bringing communities closer Dr Nano Sato-Rossberg, Prof Carol Tan 22. MYANMAR Building research capacity and identity with the Kachin Minority group Dr Mandy Sadan 23. INDONESIA Alternative economics Dr Kostas Retsikas
From US Peace Corps to African Affairs Johnnie Carson (MA Oriental & African Relations Studies 1976) has served as United States Ambassador to several African nations. In 2009 he was nominated to become US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs by President Barack Obama. He resigned in 2013 following the resignation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Why did you choose SOAS as the place to study? Having served for three years in the US Peace Corps, I was keenly interested in Africa; and SOAS had an outstanding reputation, a world class faculty, a diverse student body and distinguished alumni in government, academia and politics.
analyse issues carefully and to pursue their scholarly and professional interests. One of the themes for the centenary is ‘SOAS in the World’. What does this mean to you? In a diplomatic career that has spanned four decades, I have met numerous SOAS alumni. As US Ambassador in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean Foreign Minister at the time was Dr Stan Mudenge, a great historian and a distinguished SOAS graduate. As Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, I had the pleasure of working closely with the late President of Ghana, the Honourable John Atta Mills, one of Ghana’s great leaders and also an honoured SOAS graduate. Whether it is an important American Africanist in Washington like Dr Todd Moss at the Centre for Development Economics, Steve McDonald at the Wilson Centre for International Scholars or a young American Foreign Service officer, I have encountered SOAS alumni everywhere. Africa is a serious and deep subject of interest.
What did you enjoy about the course? The course was excellent. I enjoyed the small seminar classes, the diversity of the students British, American, African and European, and the close interaction with the faculty. What would be a seminal moment during your time at SOAS? The Faculty was outstanding and some of the greatest moments were spent in the classroom and seminars discussing critical issues and talking about significant historical and political developments in Africa with my tutors and classmates. I had an opportunity to study with Dr Richard Rathbone, Dr Shula Marks, Dr Andrew Roberts and several other notable faculty. They were enthusiastic and passionate about Africa and encouraged students to read broadly,
What three words symbolise the School’s next 100 years? “Scholarship and Leadership”. 30
Dreams and traditions
Anahita Sadighi speaks about how her time at SOAS helped her in showcasing Asian arts in Berlin ARTS OF ASIA opened on Schlüterstraße 16 in Berlin on 4 September 2015. Founded by SOAS alumna Anahita Sadighi, the new gallery features the antique arts of Asia in the form of paintings, ceramics, textiles and furniture from an expansive geographic area extending from ancient Persia, through Central Asia and the Himalayas, into China and Japan. Graduating from SOAS in 2014 with an MA in History of Art and Architecture of the Islamic Middle East, Anahita “fell in love with SOAS”, owing partly to “the interesting programme of study, the neighbourhood, museums, the history and controversy.” It was her father, the well-known Iranian artist and gallery owner Hamid Sadighi Neiriz, who first motivated her to apply to SOAS. Whilst the business evidently runs in the family, Anahita also credits SOAS as part of her gallery inspiration: “Apart from my family tradition, the experience at SOAS can also be held responsible for the choice of those subjects! My interest in pursuing my dream was surely nourished by the intense studies and regular visits to London’s museums and galleries, and last but not least by the inspiring conversations at SOAS.”
Speaking about the practical skills gained from SOAS and the impact on her career, Anahita spoke about SOAS’ surroundings as an atmosphere in which learning could be applied both in the classroom and practically, “The accompanying research courses at London institutions, mainly at the V&A, the British Museum and the British Library gave me an opportunity to study the history of those collections in depths, as well as to handle valuable objects face to face - a perfect addition to the theoretical and academic aspects of our studies. I’m sure the idea of entering the art world was triggered there, especially as many of those collections were built by travellers, dealers, adventurers and art lovers.” Aside from the variety of the courses and the access to untold collections of art, the atmosphere inside the classroom was also of great value to Anahita, as she recalls the “many critical discussions” with students and teachers on a range of topics and the relationships formed with members of SOAS’ global community. “The intellectual curiosity, the dynamic and vivid atmosphere at our lectures and at the library, which felt like a second home to many of us. I have made many good friends from all over the world, a wonderful experience.” Between SOAS and Berlin, with roots in Iran, Anahita’s knowledge will surely continue to grow, along with her gallery.
Share your SOAS story - let us know what you’ve been doing post-SOAS at email@example.com
The latest publications by SOAS academics and alumni ASIA Sanitation Law and Policy in India: An Introduction to Basic Instruments (OUP Oxford, 2015) by Prof Philippe Cullet and Lovleen Bhullar (SOAS). This book attempts to fill the gap by piecing together the provisions of the existing legal instruments that seek to address the different dimensions of sanitation in India. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) by James Hoare (PhD History 1971). The Korean Peninsula lies at the strategic heart of East Asia and has been influenced in different ways and at different times. Faced by such powerful neighbours, the Koreans have had to struggle hard to maintain their political and cultural identity. 1616: Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu’s China (Bloomsbury, 2016) co-edited by Dr Tian Yuan Tan (SOAS). Four hundred years on and Shakespeare is now an important meeting place for Anglo-Chinese cultural dialogue in the field of drama studies. A Modern Miscellany - Shanghai Cartoon Artists, Shao Xunmei’s Circle and the Travels of Jack Chen, 1926-1938 (BRILL, 2015) by Dr Paul Bevan
(S0AS), who explores how the cartoon (manhua) emerged from its place in the Chinese modern art world to become a propaganda tool in the hands of left-wing artists. Where Chiang Kai-shek Lost China: The Liao-Shen Campaign, 1948 (Indiana University Press, 2015) by Harold Tanner (MA Area Studies 1985). The civil war in China that ended in the 1949 victory of Mao Zedong’s Communist forces was a major blow to US interests in the Far East and led to heated recriminations about how China was ‘lost’. This is the story of that campaign and its outcome, which were to have such far-reaching consequences. Japan’s Sexual Gods: Shrines, Roles and Rituals of Procreation and Protection (BRILL, 2015) by Dr Stephen Turnbull (SOAS) is an exciting original work about the deities represented by phalluses and female sexual objects in Japanese shrines. Hokusai’s Great Wave: Biography of a Global Icon (University Of Hawai’i Press, 2015) by Dr Christine Guth (SOAS). Adopting a case study approach, Guth explores issues that map the social life of the iconic wave across time and place, from woodblock print, to ‘international nationalism’, American perceptions of Japan, lifestyle branding, and 32
finally to its identification as a tsunami, bringing not culture but disaster in its wake. AFRICA Curating Africa in the Age of Film Festivals (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) by Dr Lindiwe Dovey (SOAS). Emphasising the live potential of festivals, the book reveals the complex ways that festivals are co-authored by their organizers and participants, and makes a case for the subjective and contextual nature of aesthetic judgment. From Home and Exile: A Negotiation of Ideas about Home in Malawian Poetry (Langaa RPCIG, 2014) by Joanna Woods (BA African Studies 2011). With Malawi as its focus, Woods seeks to understand ideas about home and exile as expressed through poetry written by Malawians in English. Tiger in an African Palace, and Other Thoughts about Identification and Transformation (Langaa RPCIG, 2014) by Prof Richard Fardon (SOAS). Complementing Fardon’s monographs on West Africa, this collection of essays explore the relationship between comparison and historical reconstruction, and questioning the fit between personal, ethnic and cosmopolitan identities in contemporary West African nations.
NEAR & MIDDLE EAST The Political Economy of Arab Food Sovereignty (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014) by Prof Jane Harrigan (SOAS), who examines the impact of the food price hikes on the Arab region and illuminates the linkages between the food price crisis, the Arab Spring, and the growing practice of foreign land acquisition. Persian Service: The BBC and British Interests in Iran (I.B.Tauris, 2014) by Prof Annabelle Sreberny and Dr Massoumeh Torfeh (SOAS). Rumour and speculation in Iran have been rife for generations that the BBC has had a hand in every political upheaval in the country. The authors explore how key institutions have moved from an interest in what can crudely be called state-orchestrated ‘propaganda’ to a more subtle advocacy of fair and balanced journalism as the best agent of British values and influence. Medieval Damascus: Plurality and Diversity in an Arabic Library: The Ashrafiya Library Catalogue (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) by Prof Konrad Hirschler (SOAS). Listing over two thousand books the Ashrafiya catalogue is essential reading for anybody interested in the cultural and intellectual history of Arabic societies. DEVELOPMENT Land and Freedom: The MST, the Zapatistas and Peasant Alternatives to Neoliberalism (Zed Books, 2014) by Dr Leandro Vergara-Camus (SOAS). Casting a spotlight on their resistance to globalising market forces, Vergara-Camus gets to the heart of how territorial control, politicisation, empowerment of membership and decommodification of social relations are key to understanding the radical development of these movements.
The School of Oriental and African Studies: Imperial Training and the Expansion of Learning (Cambridge University Press, July 2016) – by Professor Ian Brown “Ian Brown has written an authoritative institutional history without losing sight of the individuals who populate it. The School of Oriental and African Studies is one of the world’s foremost centres of teaching and scholarship over its vast range of interests. Ian Brown shows that Sir Edward Denison Ross, first its very survival is nearDirector of the School of miraculous, as it faced other Oriental Studies, 1917-1938 jealous institutions, government bureaucracies full of promise and short on their fulfilment, parsimonious governments, commercial interests indifferent to the benefits that SOAS could give them – in short, an environment of narrow minds and narrower funding. There is much drama here, as well some of the expected idiosyncratic academics, from the hyper-cultivated professor who was known also for his ability to swear like a truck-driver, to the devotees of Sanskrit or Arabic literature who suspected that if you were researching Thai politics you must be doing something superficial. At times the personalities made the School nearly ungovernable. Little wonder, then, the long list of embittered and disillusioned Directors who march through the pages of this book. This is a fine example of what an institutional history should aspire to be.” - M.C. Ricklefs, Professor Emeritus, the Australian National University; SOAS Lecturer, 1969-79 More details out soon on www.soas.ac.uk/centenary
Checkpoint, Temple, Church and Mosque: A Collaborative Ethnography of War and Peace in Eastern Sri Lanka (Pluto Press, 2014) co-authored by Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS). Is religion best seen as only a cause of war, or is it a source of comfort for those caught up in conflict? Based on fieldwork in Sri Lanka’s most religiously diverse and politically troubled region in the closing years of the civil war, this book provokes new debate on the role of religious organisations and leaders in situations of extreme conflict. ECONOMICS Financing the Green Transformation: How to Make Green Finance Work in Indonesia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) 33
co-authored by Dr Ulrich Volz (SOAS). Based on surveys in the Indonesian banking and corporate sectors and expert interviews, Volz devises innovative policy recommendations to develop a framework conducive to fostering green investments. ANTHROPOLOGY Ethical Eating in the Postsocialist and Socialist World (University of California Press, 2014) co-edited by Dr Jakob Klein (SOAS). This groundbreaking contribution to critical food studies explores what constitutes “ethical food” and “ethical eating” in socialist and formerly socialist societies.
Portrait photography in Senegal An independent researcher and photographer, Chloe Evans (BA African History 2014) shares her research experience from Senegal in the summer of 2013. IT IS DIFFICULT TO FULLY ACKNOWLEDGE the depth of photographic history - particularly its early history - in many parts of Africa; Senegal is no exception. The period of Senegal’s decolonisation and its official independence in 1960 was a time of socio-political resurrection, reassessment and transformation. My research focused on the trajectory of the photographer Oumar Ly. A ‘golden age’ of portrait photography The 1960s-70s have often been called the ‘golden age’ of studio photography in West Africa, and during the first decade of independence, Senegalese of all classes embraced self-representation through photography as never before. These images documented an important milieu in the negotiated space that bridged the gap between colonial and postcolonial identity, informed by the changes wrought by modernisation and urbanisation projects of the newly independent nation state. Oumar Ly was born in 1943 in Podor, close to the Mauritanian border. It was when he started selling vegetables to the French military based around Fort Faidherbe, that he saw his first camera. Fascinated by the technology, he bought a Kodak camera with his savings; after eighteen months in the army in Dakar, he returned to 34
Portrait Photography in Senegal: Using Local Case Studies from Saint Louis and Podor, 1839–1970 (MIT Press Journals: African Arts, 2015) by Chloe Evans (BA History 2014)
Podor to pursue a career in photography and opened the town’s first studio in 1963 (Le Thiofy Studio is still functioning today). The studio was immensely popular, and he recalls there being queues around the building nearly every day throughout the 1960s. The studio became a space to view the latest fashions, trends and technologies. In short, it embodied an individual and collective sense of participation in local modernities. He has kept the majority of his negatives and has essentially created a photographic record of the region, amassing more than 5,000 shots over a period of forty years. His portraits are specific descriptions of individuals and simultaneously provide inscriptions of changing social identities and practices in the independence era. State photographer By the 1960s, having an identity card was essential for citizens of Senegal and professional photographers in the country were still hard to come by. Oumar Ly recalled being asked by both the Senegalese and Mauritanian authorities to accompany them to different villages and take the citizens’ photographs; he would take the photographs with the “box camera,” a handmade wooden chamber fitted only with a lens and no shutter speed. Traveling deep into the interior of the country,
he became a key actor in the government’s process of visually recording its citizens. Photography was not always a medium that people readily accepted and he remembered peoples’ scepticism and unwillingness to be photographed and demonstrated that his role often entailed negotiation and persuasion. This response to technology could be interpreted as a resistance to new forms of postcolonial nation-state governance or an unwillingness to accept the changes in social structure caused by rapid urbanisation and modernity. By looking at the development of photography in Senegal and in Saint-Louis from 1839 to the 1950s, it is clear that Senegalese photographers were working alongside European photographers from the very start of the medium’s introduction to the continent. The vast array of surviving French colonial photography that dominates the CRDS (Centre de Recherches et de Documentation du Senegal) archives, frequently in postcard form, should not be ignored and offers a dialectic between Senegalese and French photography in the early twentieth century. Oumar Ly’s production as a studio photographer and subsequent state photographer not only reveals his creative interventions in image making, but also its materialities through which the local constructions of photography are developed. 35
Celebrating the art of language No country, not even England, can appropriate English as its own. In India, it lives - no, thrives - as Inglish. SOAS alumna Anwesha Arya shares her perspective.
WORDS HAVE A WAY OF WAKING YOUR MIND. Funny words, especially rude ones, make children explode, and the child trapped in the adult giggles aloud. We lose and gain language words. We change usage according to predictive text. Fascinatingly, it is contemporary English dictionary compilers who have encouraged the making of virtual language maps through documentary programmes, which renew an interest in the life of a language by tracing the origins of words. In India, we have no equivalent map-making culture. We must. Primarily, for the genesis of English into ‘Inglish’, as an art form almost. English, as we use it in India, is not only unique, but worth celebrating. It is being studied at the University of Oxford as a popular development, as is the evolution of ‘Hinglish’ and other apparent corruptions (Banglish, etc) of the Queen’s English into something more; whether at televised events like the Indian Premier League (IPL), where most Hindi words appear in English Roman type and transliteration, or in errant conversations on the train doing ‘timepass’ with friends. And yes, ‘timepass’ is a valid verb. Even if ‘timepass’ is not used in ‘proper’ English, in India it is widely used and understood as a valid way to waste time. It may not work for those who want to master 36
the Queen’s speak for gravitas. But does she even own it anymore? Gravitas, in fact, may be gained by grasping the new frontiers in language, using ‘wicked’ in its street sense to mean ‘fantastic’. Language belongs to all who use it. Marlon James, the first Jamaica-born recipient of the 2015 Man Booker Prize, drove home the point about diversity in the language as used globally today. English is evolving everywhere. Even the most prestigious of literary prizes has dropped its guard, welcoming outside influences to the language. Looking at the spanning branches of the language tree, we see where Sanskrit and English diversify. But they are, in fact, rooted together. When he was an amateur language scholar and a deeply devoted student of India studies, Sir William Jones (co-founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1784) hunted for the means to expose the links between these languages when he arrived in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as a Supreme Court judge in 1783. He chanced upon the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and announced to the world that he had ‘discovered’ the equivalent of The Iliad and The Odyssey, which were held by the Romantics and Early Victorians as foreshadowing all literary progress. In the midst of the geographical discovery phase of world history (1200-1400 CE), it became clear that to embrace other cultures for purposes of trade (or any other intent), language would have to be used. And so we experience the clash of cultures. In India, in particular, we have had since the 1600s a unique melding of trading terms entering our
languages from other countries. Our Hindi word for orange, narangi, comes from naranja, the Spanish equivalent, because oranges travelled to the subcontinent from the Mediterranean. Our unique system of numbers, including the zero, was introduced to the world by the widely travelled Arab traders, using the ancient Sanskritic numbers. The world still calls the European or English written number system Arabic, recently updated to include Hindi, so Arabic-Indic/Hindi. What is transpiring is an amalgamation of cultures. Today, we rarely look for origins of words, so busy are we making up new ones. India has recast British culture through her use of language. We even write Hindi in English letters so that more of the population will understand it. The letters of the English language go further in the subcontinent, even with non-English readers. British administrators, for their own convenience, went about applying anglicised names for most places. Ooty, in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu, is an apt example. Its tonguetwisting Tamil name is Udhagamandalam; the British surveyors called it Ootacamund, which today we still call Ooty lovingly. Mumbai became Bumbai became Bombay, or vice versa. Kolkata became Kulkutta became Calcutta. This process rubbed along, at times with discomfort, but it 38
made places far-flung and out of familiar speech patterns easier on the tongue. I start to imagine this language as with a life of its own. Appropriately, at this point, my now four-year-old daughter runs past me still shouting “Bumfuzzle! Bum, Bum…”! She knows how it amuses me. I am proud of her confident use of Hindi words in the midst of English sentences. Even if she is cheekily asking, in her fast becoming-posh-southeast England accent, for a ‘glass of paani please…’ Inglish, it seems, is by no means limited to India.
Anwesha Arya (MA South Asian Studies 1999) is an academic and filmmaker with a curiosity about how language lives. With an upbringing in the Indian film industry, her approach to understanding people and relationships is through film and documentary, with 15 years of experience in research and filmmaking in the fields of gender, human rights and women’s empowerment. In 2008 she pioneered AWARE - Awareness of Women’s Active Rights Empowerment, an advocacy group on human rights with a focus on women. Her second novel, 100 Percent Perfectly Okay, written in Indian-English, is set for release later this year. (A version of this article was first published in Forbes India)
In Memoriam At SOAS, our lives are touched by many inspirational people, but sadly we must say a final farewell to some familiar faces. Prof Emmon Bach SOAS Professorial Research Associate 1929 - 28 Nov 2014 A leading scholar in formal semantics, field linguistics and the study of North American languages.
Murray, London 1999), seen as the definitive political biography of the founder and first President of the Turkish Republic (photo below).
Kevin De Silva LLM 2005 29 Nov 1982 - 25 May 2012 A “gifted and bright lawyer” who represented asylum seekers in the city John H Dugdale BA Hausa 1986 4 Aug 1944 - 5 May 2015 Dr Peter Hardy SOAS Lecturer 1923 - Feb 2014 A specialist in the Sultanate period of South Asian history, with a particular interest in Indo-Persian historiography, notably, Historians of Medieval India (London, 1960, republished New Delhi, 1997).
Bimal Prasad SOAS Senior Fellow 1925 - 4 Nov 2015 Former Indian Ambassador to Nepal and historian known for his scholarship on modern Indian history. Dr Lazarus Tinkasiimire Rubongoya BA Linguistics 1959 27 Aug 1923 - 6 Apr 2015 A literary icon from the Tooro region of Uganda.
Dr Joan Maw SOAS Lecturer 1927 - 2014 Scholar of Swahili languages Prof John D Y Peel SOAS Emeritus Professor 13 Nov 1941 - 2 Nov 2015 Former President of the African Studies Association of the UK (1996-98) and Chair of the Social Anthropology and Human Geography Section of the British Academy (1997-2000).
Arthur Hope Wyatt BA Turkish 1952 12 Oct 1929 - 4 Mar 2015 A British diplomat and ConsulGeneral in Tehran who helped the US Embassy staff escape during the siege of the US embassy in 1979. Michael David Thompson Evans BA Turkish 1943, MA 1993 13 Jun 1924 - 26 Sep 2015 ‘Dulwich Boy’ who was later appointed to the Embassy in Ankara.
Lord Howe of Aberavon CH QC SOAS Honorary Fellow 20 Dec - 9 Oct 2015 A British Conservative politician, Lord Howe was Margaret Thatcher’s longest-serving Cabinet minister for all but the last three weeks of her Government. Prof Andrew Huxley Emeritus Professor 1948 - 29 Nov 2014 Specialised in Burmese legal history, and in 2002 gave vital evidence in a Los Angeles court on behalf of Burmese villagers whose lives had been ruined by the building of a pipeline through their land. Dr Andrew Mango PhD Persian 1955 14 Jun 1926 – 6 Jul 2014 The leading specialist on modern Turkey and author of Atatürk (John
Dr Pamela Gutman 19 Sep 1944 - 2015 The first Australian to complete a doctorate in Asian Art specialising in Burma, Gutman’s scholarship greatly contributed to Australian-Burmese government relations from the
1970s onwards. Her book Burma’s Lost Kingdoms – Splendours of Arakan (2001), brought together her many years of research to reveal the secrets and treasures hidden in Arakan, now known as Rakhine State.
The Dulwich Boys: 75 years of Japanese Studies at SOAS Seventy years ago, Japan surrendered and the Second World War ended. However, when war with Japan first broke out at the end of 1941 Britain was unprepared: not least because almost noone in Britain could speak Japanese. TRACING THE HISTORY of Japanese Studies at SOAS is in itself a fascinating endeavour. The only place that taught the language in Britain was the School of Oriental and African Studies, now of course known as SOAS University of London. While a few occasional Japanese language tutorials were offered during the 1930s, it was not until 1941 when the first military language students began to arrive that larger numbers of students began to study Japanese at SOAS. In early 1942 the Board of Education, at the behest of the War Office, established a scholarship scheme for boys from secondary and public schools aged 17 and 18 to study languages critical to the war effort. Accommodated at Dulwich College, the ‘Dulwich Boys’ as they came to call themselves, attended language courses at SOAS every morning, and returned to the college each afternoon to study the regular Dulwich curriculum. On completing their 18 months of language training, each student was inducted into the military or intelligence services, and many of these young men went on to be key players in the post-war relationship between Britain and Japan. Reported on by BBC journalist Nick Higham
last summer, SOAS academics Professor Ian Brown and Dr Chris Gerteis revealed how the School helped Britain find Japanese speakers in a hurry in World War two. “Japanese was taught here,” says Prof Ian Brown, who is writing a history of SOAS. “There were two teachers at the end of the 1930s. But classes for Japanese - classes for everything frankly - were rather small.” Learning exotic languages was not a priority for imperial Britain in the 1930s. “British investment in Japan was small, and there was no Japanese investment in Britain,” says Sir Hugh Cortazzi, who studied Japanese at SOAS and became Britain’s ambassador to Tokyo in the 1980s. “And, of course, Japan had been cutting itself off from the West. But I think there was also an element of arrogance on the part of the British.” Of the few students who had learnt Japanese 40
100 YEARS OF SOAS
Clockwise from left: Sir Peter Parker; College Building in 1960; SOAS’ Prof Ian Brown; The fall of Singapore provoked a need for Japanesespeaking British servicemen; Sandy Wilson in 1954.
at SOAS, many had, not surprisingly, taken jobs in East Asia; and with the fall of Singapore most had become prisoners of war. So a desperate War Office advertised scholarships for 18-month intensive courses in Japanese, Chinese, Turkish and Persian (for who knew where the war might spread to next), to start in May 1942. Guy de Moubray, who died in June 2015 at the age of 90, was one of those who successfully applied for the scholarship. Born in Malaya, where his parents were still living, Guy was at Loretto School near Edinburgh. “My parents became prisoners of war in February 1942 and it was around then that I put in for this scholarship exam,” he said in an interview at SOAS, “partly because of my parents, but partly because I wanted to get away from school a year earlier than I otherwise would have done.”
Guy was one of 30 boys studying Japanese who were housed at Dulwich College in south London. Each day he and the other “Dulwich Boys” commuted by train to Victoria, and then by bus (if they could afford it) or on foot to SOAS which was based temporarily above St James’s underground station. They were a mixed group. Sandy Wilson soon dropped out and in the 1950s he became famous as the composer of the hit musical, The Boyfriend. Peter Parker, who later became chairman of British Rail, was elected by the boys as their prefect. Ronald Dore, another Dulwich Boy and now aged 90, was also one of at least four boys on the language courses who later became professors at SOAS. This sudden influx of bright, highly-motivated and state-funded students was vital to SOAS’ post-war expansion. But in 1942 the biggest problem was a desperate shortage of teachers. Only one of the two pre-war course staff, Saburo Yoshitake, was still in post and he soon left. “The head of the department and the main teacher was a man called Frank Daniels,” Ronald remembers. “He was a clerk in the Admiralty and had been posted to Japan, and there he very assiduously started learning Japanese and acquired a Japanese wife.” Otome Daniels also taught on the course. She and her husband had been in Japan when war broke out, but had returned to Britain following a rare prisoner of war swap. Two second-generation Japanese sergeants in the Canadian army helped out, as did Britain’s former military attache in Tokyo, General Sir Francis Piggott, who one boy remembered “was almost evangelical in teaching us the titles of the whole hierarchy of the Japanese General Staff”. And there were also instructors with even less orthodox backgrounds. “People who had settled down in Soho as manufacturers of lampshades...and they spoke rather less than high-class Japanese,” Ronald says. The shortage of teachers was so acute that Ronald, after completing his course, soon found himself back on the staff at SOAS. Among his pupils was Hugh Cortazzi, then an RAF aircraftsman second class who had signed up 41
100 YEARS OF SOAS
for a six-month crash course for servicemen. In due course the Dulwich Boys themselves were called up. Guy de Moubray was sent to the frontline in Burma to eavesdrop on Japanese military broadcasts. “Every time we got to the new front line, one of us had to climb a teak tree to put the aerial up as high as we could,” he recalled, “hoping to receive Japanese regimental radio. Unfortunately, though we tried for over two months, we were never successful.” Later, he was the first British soldier ashore when Singapore was liberated. There he found his parents, whom he hadn’t seen since he was 14, still alive after three years of Japanese captivity. The Dulwich Boys’ real impact came after the war. “Without these young men there would be no UK-Japan relationship,” says Dr Christopher Gerteis. “Or if there were it would have rested on the shoulders of an aristocratic class like that of the 1930s. These are the professional statesmen, this is the generation that built the United Nations, that built post-cold war frameworks, that eventually led to the creation of a very strong liberal democracy in post-war Japan.” The Dulwich Boys at SOAS become key figures in Anglo-Japanese relations. Some, like Cortazzi, became diplomats; others became academic experts on Japan, such as Ronald Dore. And then there was Sir Peter Parker. After resigning from British Rail, Parker became a director of Mitsubishi. In the 1980s he chaired an inquiry for the government into the teaching at universities of “difficult” languages - a professorship of Japanese at Cambridge was one indirect result. The irony, perhaps, is that it took a war and a bunch of clever schoolboys, to bring about such a remarkable improvement in Britain’s understanding of and relations with Japan.
SUPPORTING JAPANESE STUDIES The Japan Research Centre (JRC) at SOAS has one of the largest concentration of Japan specialists outside of Japan. Its community of experts work across disciplines as diverse as economics and philosophy of religion. The Centre promotes interdisciplinary teaching and cutting edge research about Japan - whilst also running a rich programme of events including lectures, workshops, seminars and performances. These are designed to showcase the vibrancy and lesser known aspects of Japanese culture alongside its political, historical and social elements. The academic year 2015-16 marks 75 years of Japanese Studies at SOAS and every year the JRC holds a lecture in honour of Professor William Gerald Beasley, a former SOAS academic and leading figure in the development of Japanese Studies in Britain. Alumni donations towards events like the Beasley Lecture are vital in enabling the JRC to increase public awareness of the new ideas and interpretations that are emerging, as well as providing opportunities for those with an interest in Japan to meet leading scholars, opinion-formers and policy makers. To find out more and to make a contribution, please contact Lydia Pistis at L.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marking 75 years since the start of the Second World War in August, the BBC featured a story on the Dulwich Boys that included interviews with the last surviving members of SOAS’ wartime Japanese Studies alumni. The original version of this article was produced by BBC journalist Nick Higham and can be heard online at http://bbc.in/1Moy2WG. 42
A SOAS timeline 100 years of the School’s history, people and collections.
1916 The School of Oriental Studies receives its Royal Charter
1916-1937 Sir Edward Denison Ross, Director (1871-1940)
1917 The first students are admitted; initially, teaching is offered in twenty subjects.
1921-1930 Thomas Arnold CBE, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies (1795-1842)
1921-1955 Eve D Edwards, Professor of Chinese (1888-1957)
1927 The Students’ Union is founded
1930 The Library inside the School’s first location at Finsbury Circus
1934 Paul Robeson, alumnus (1898-1976)
1937-1957 Sir Ralph Turner, Director (1888-1983)
1938 The School officially changes its title to the School of Oriental and African Studies
1943 The School moves to the College Building, Russell Square
1950-1976 Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, Professor of Anthropology (1909-1995)
1957-1976 Sir Cyril Philips, Director (1912-2005)
1960-1969 Amadu Basang Jobarteh, Kora player (1915-2001)
1960-1970 Edith Penrose, Professor of Economics (1914-1996)
1966 Walter Rodney, alumnus (1942-1980)
1970 HRH Queen Elizabeth II visits the Royal African Society
1973 The Dalai Lama pays a visit
1973 The SOAS National Research Library is opened by the Queen Mother
1976-1989 Professor C.D Cowan, Director (1923-2013)
1989-1996 Sir Michael McWilliam, Director
1995 The Brunei Gallery opens, following a generous benefaction from HM The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam.
1996-2000 Sir Timothy Lankester, Director
2001-2006 Professor Colin Bundy, Director
2006-2015 Professor Paul Webley, Director
2009 The School is awarded its second prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education.
2013 The Alphawood Foundation donates £20 million towards Southeast Asian art at SOAS
2014-2016 A new chapter begins: Valerie Amos joins as new Director and the redevelopment of the iconic Grade II listed Senate House
Tell us why SOAS matters There is so much more to SOAS’ story and we need your help to build a fuller picture. We welcome you to suggest seminal research and teaching achievements and events in the School’s history and pay tribute to the people who have pushed the boundaries of academic thought and made an impact on the world. Send in your suggestions and comments to email@example.com and explore the Centenary Timeline online at www.soas.ac.uk/centenary 25
Time to celebrate 100 years Over the past 100 years, SOAS has fulfilled a unique role with its academics and students characterised by a passionate commitment to rigorous scholarship and to addressing real world political, social and economic questions in the regions they study. These commitments are reflected in the diverse events hosted at SOAS. Join us for our many events to celebrate the School’s centenary milestone, both in London and around the world. Mar-May Exhibition: The Everlasting Flame, Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination (New Delhi) 1 Mar The Importance of Law as an Aid to Development in Africa 8 Mar All change at the top: Myanmar’s new government takes shape 15 Mar Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East
Celebrating with SOAS alumni 9-11 Sept: Centenary Alumni Weekend Come back to the Russell Square campus for a unique selection of the very best of SOAS’ 100 years, with panel debates, language tasters, live music, world food and more...save the date! Oct: Global Alumni Month - Join alumni around the world for a month of alumni events in your local city!
17 Mar Concert: Mozambican Roots with a Jazzy Twist 23 Mar Bicentenary workshop on Britain-Nepal Relations 1-2 Apr 5th Annual International Igbo Conference 4-6 Apr Elephant Conference (Bangalore)
Centenary Cities Hosted by SOAS Director Valerie Amos, SOAS will be holding exclusive centenary events in Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Lagos and New York City. Centenary Lectures Hear from leading experts and renowned personalities as the School celebrates 100 years of academic excellence. Dates will be out shortly and for full information, visit www.soas.ac.uk/centenary.
28 Apr Concert: The voice of a Kurdish troubadour
19 Oct Centenary lecture with Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka
4 May Launch: SOAS World Languages Institute
19-23 Oct Bloomsbury Festival, London
15-16 Apr The Past in the Present of the Middle East
20 May ISIS, Paris, Pakistan and the search for peace: In conversation with Prof Akbar Ahmed
27 Apr 2016 China Debate - China: Remnants of Revolution
24-25 Sep BBC’s Antiques Roadshow at Senate House
Oct-Dec Exhibition: 100 Years of SOAS
For more events and full details, visit www.soasalumni.org/events. All events take place at SOAS, unless indicated otherwise.