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Leuzinger Mallika

Period of stay: 1 September – 31 October 2021

Evaluation sheet for departing Fellows

  1. What would you consider to be the major benefits of your stay at IWM?

A warm community and access to excellent infrastructure, not least a beautiful office space that I will miss! Time and space to work on my own research after a long year of applications and precarity.

  1. Was the event programme of the IWM attractive and interesting for you?

Yes – in parts. While my own research is about modern South Asian rather than Europe, it was educational for me to learn about a different geopolitics and also draw new connections and critical comparisons.

  1. Do you have any criticisms of any aspect of the Institute’s program and operations?
    Please include any suggestions for improvement.

As someone working on and partly from ‘the global South’, I sometimes found it difficult to empathise with the “we” that was used in discussions or presentations such as Europe’s Futures events, or at the Olga Tokarczuk talk, because I had the sense that this “we” was – if not always Western European – often assumed to be white, and that even talks on policy would stray into observations and assumptions about cultural/civilisation difference. That said, I appreciated that there were also events about postcolonial developments in India. I look forward to the expanding program of the Institute and its engagements with other regions and histories, and its willingness to complicate supposed boundaries between them.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to let us know regarding your stay at the IWM?

Final Report sheet for departing Fellows

As mentioned in the “Terms of Award” agreement, we would kindly ask you to submit your final report on your activities, travels, talks and accomplishments during your research stay. Please be as specific and concise as possible!

In particular, we may ask you to list books or essays that have been written or worked on at the IWM, that have either been published or accepted for publication or that you wish to submit for publication. Describe briefly the nature of the work and give names of publishers or publications, dates and other relevant facts.

We would be very grateful if you could provide us with a copy of your publication(s) for our library or, if this is not possible, contact our librarian with the publication details. We would also like to ask you to list any prizes or awards you have received or will receive, as well as any scholarships and grants you have received or will receive.


My time at the IWM has been intellectually nourishing. I have felt so supported by my colleagues and the wonderful staff, but also very much appreciated the independence I was given to pursue my own work at my own pace.

I was able to begin the research for my new project on ‘Archival Imaginaries and the Politics of History in South Asia’, identifying key archives and interlocutors and compiling literature. I attended several relevant workshops and training, including the “Inter-Archives Conversations #3 | Narrativising the Archive” by Asia Art Archive (5-7 October),  an Oral History Workshop organised by the 1947 Partition Archive (14 October) and “Photographic Digital Heritage – Institutions, Communities and the Political” organised by DIGICONFLICT at De Montfort University (19-20 October).

In relation to my doctoral work, which I have been revising for publication under the title “Dwelling in Photography: Intimacy, Amateurism and the Camera in South Asia”, I participated in a 3-day conference of the HU Berlin on “How To Live Together- Circulations, Practices and Spaces in Indian Contexts” (28-30 September) and presented the paper “Amateurism, or the strange and radical kinship of the camera”. I also prepared two talks I will give on 11 November and 10 February 2022 in relation to the Bayly Prize which I was awarded for best dissertation on South Asia from the Royal Asiatic Society. I have been intensely involved in planning and curating an exhibition on the photography of the twin sisters Debalina Majumdar and Manobina Roy scheduled to open in January 2021 at Jadunath Bhavan in Kolkata.

Throughout, I have been an active member of the working and reading groups ‘Landscapes of Southeast Asia’ (University of Cambridge), ‘Technology and Global Politics’ (Kings College London), ‘Science Across Regions in Asia’ (CHSTM) and ‘Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialisms’ (MPIWG, Berlin).