Master’s Dissertation Prize 2023: Winner Announced

We, the judges were very impressed with the high quality and disciplinary range of dissertations submitted. Recognising the competitive nature of the field, a winner and two runners up were declared.


The Paradox Of Ahmadiyya Minority Politics In Pakistan

Saloni Jaiswal, University of Cambridge

The judges were unanimous in their praise for Jaiswal’s dissertation. They particularly admired its crisp, clear and focused analytical framework that logically works through the paradox of Ahmadiyya identity and the state through different conjunctures. Each individual chapter is equally well-framed and related back to the research question through the outlining of a central paradox. What is at stake is clearly spelt out by Jaiswal in the following: ‘I argue that what undergirded the Ahmadiyya position at the time was not the  obtainment of rights and equal citizenship, which the category of minority would grant as per the state. Rather, what undergirded the Ahmadis’ position was the rejection of state authority in adjudicating on matters of belief so as to freely self-identify as Muslims.’ The recognition and misrecognition described rests on complex distinctions and definitions with theological, political and social historical dimensions and is argued through beautifully written prose demonstrating a good knowledge of secondary sources as well as a good use of extensive primary sources. Jaiswal sets out both the existing scholarship in this area and the independent contribution of this dissertation.  This is sometimes a weak area in MA dissertations, but was a strength of this one. The conceptual framing around (mis)recognition and politics of citizenship reframes debates not only around Pakistan’s citizenship but minority rights frameworks and multicultural practices more widely.  Congratulations on a stunning piece of original scholarship.


Varavara Rao: The Construction and Containment of a Poet as a Threat to the State

Shivani Pegatraju, SOAS

Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India, MoMA, 1955: Challenging Narratives of Global and Modern Curating

Mala Yamey, Royal College of Art, London