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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships

British Academy (BA) Fellowships are subject to a restricted application process. Expressions of interest must be received by the Faculty no later than the internal deadline in late August. This deadline will depend on the BA's own application deadline and the BA deadline for 2019 has yet to be advised.

PLEASE NOTE: The information below is based on historical time frames and will be updated when the British Academy releases their scheme timetable for the 2019 application round (for Fellowships beginning in late 2020).

The British Academy will shortly open their call for applications under their prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme, with a deadline in early September. These fellowships fund three years of research on a topic of the applicant’s choice. Applications have to be hosted by a UK higher education institution.

To be eligible for this scheme, you must either have completed your doctorate within the last three years, or have your viva by the end of March 2019.

There are also nationality/residency conditions, but you are automatically eligible if you have a doctorate from a UK university. Further details may be found on the British Academy website.

Application timeline

If you would like to apply through the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, you must first discuss your proposal with your prospective mentor in the Faculty and secure their support, as well as that of the relevant Head of Department. Your application will not be considered without this support. 

A list of prospective mentors, with their research interests, is shown below.

  • Late August - deadline for submission to the Faculty
    Once you have secured the necessary academic support, you will need to submit a draft application to the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. We assess all draft submissions we receive, and if we would like to host your application we will forward it to the University's Research Strategy Office. The applications will then be assessed and shortlisted by a University panel.
  • Mid September - university shortlisting complete
    You will be advised if your application is being put forward to the British Academy

Submitting your application to the Faculty

Please submit your proposal, by email, to If you have any questions, please also contact this email address.

Your proposal should include:

  • Your name
  • The name and department of your proposed mentor - please refer to the list of academic staff below
  • Research project title
  • Research project description (maximum 750 words). Please address the following:
    • outline the research problem (s) you are seeking to address and say why it is distinctive
    • how your proposed research will tackle this research problem(s) – its design and methodology
    • how your proposed research will significantly change the established landscape
    • how your project fits with the timeframe of the award (its feasibility
    • why Cambridge is the “best-fit” environment for this project
    • the appropriateness and demonstration of commitment of the proposed mentor(s)
  • A two page CV
  • A list of your publications

Prospective Mentors

Heads of Department

Middle Eastern Studies

Kennedy Leigh Reader in Modern Hebrew Studies


East Asian Studies

Keidanren Professor of Japanese Studies


Middle Eastern Studies

University Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, Assistant Director, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies
Research interests: Social anthropology, relating to Islam, and the sociality of trade. Trading networks connecting China to markets in West Asia and Arabic-speaking countries

Lecturer in Eastern Islamic Lands and the Persian-speaking world
Research interests: The history of Iran from the early modern to the present, comparative early modern Muslim empires, travel literature, and the culture and economy of gift giving.

Professor in the History and Culture of the Maghrib
Research interests: The medieval Islamic West; 18th-19th century Muslim religio-political discourse and state structures especially in the Maghrib; Islamic cultural history

On sabbatical: October, 2020 to September, 2021
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Sa'id Professor of Modern Arabic Studies
Research interests: Egyptian legal, medical & military history; Islamic responses to 19th century medical & legal developments; the 1967 Six Day War; contemporary Arab politics

Language Teaching Officer in Hebrew
Research interests: Ancient Hebrew philology and linguistics, Ancient Hebrew periodization, exegesis

Regius Professor of Hebrew
Research interests: Semitic philological and linguistic studies, particularly of Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic. Also endangered dialects of Neo-Aramaic and the history of Judaeo-Arabic, including modern spoken varieties.

Reader in Classical Arabic Studies
Research interests: Islamic History; Late Antiquity; Political Culture in Early Islam; Empire and State Formation; Arabic Historiography; Comparative and Transregional History

On sabbatical: January, 2018 to August, 2018
Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic
Research interests: History of ideas in classical Islam; classical Arabic literature; literary translation.

University Lecturer in Modern Arabic Literature and Culture
Research interests: Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature; Comparative Literature; Animal and Eco-critical Studies.

Kennedy Leigh Reader in Modern Hebrew Studies
Research interests: Modern Hebrew literary history; Israeli cinema and culture; the creation and legacy of a native Hebrew culture at the beginning of the 20th century

University Lecturer in Hebrew & Aramaic
Research interests: Jewish liturgical poetry (piyyut) in Hebrew and Aramaic from Byzantine period Palestine; Hebrew codicology

On sabbatical: October, 2020 to March, 2021
Ali Reza and Mohamed Soudavar Reader in Persian Studies
Research interests: Classical Persian Literature, Modern Persian poetry, Poetics and Rhetorics, Science and poetry, Nezami Ganjavi, Persian Animal Fables as Mirror for Princes, Kalila wa Dimna, Anvar-i Sohayli, ‘Iyar-e Danesh, Khamriyya, Eskandar, Politics and poetry, Comparative literature, Persia’ s presence in the European world, Codicology, Persian manuscripts and paintings, Botanical representations in classical Persian paintings, Iranian cinema, Rewritings

University Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit
Research interests: History of linguistic ideas and the philosophy of language in ancient India, including the role of grammar in the history of Sanskrit

East Asian Studies

Keidanren Professor of Japanese Studies
Research interests: Social structures, ideologies, mentalitée, religious institutions, legal history, historical documents and international trade in Medieval Japan

Reader in the Anthropology of China
Research interests: Social and cultural transformations in contemporary China; Chinese religions, especially their social aspects; ritual theories; Indonesian Chinese returnees

Reader in Chinese
Research interests: Chinese manuscripts; Dunhuang studies; Tangut studies; history of Chinese writing; contacts between China and Central Asia; Silk Road

University Lecturer in the Study of Late Imperial China
Research interests: Chinese history, premodern Chinese literature, religious practice in China, print culture and history of the book, travel and pilgrimage, and popular culture. I am particularly interested in the interplay between literature and religion in late-imperial China (primarily during the Ming and Qing dynasties). I am also interested in the history of the book, travel and pilgrimage, popular culture, and religious practice.

On sabbatical: October, 2020 to September, 2021
University Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture
Research interests: Chinese contemporary genre fiction and poetry; popular, fan and folk cultures; internet culture and society; media studies; sociology of literature and culture

Professor of East Asian History
Research interests: Modern East Asian history - including Japan, Taiwan, and China - in particular the wartime, postwar imperial dissolution of the Japanese Empire, and the Cold War in East Asia, as well as history of war crimes, memory politics and the pursuit of justice.

Senior Lecturer in Pre-Modern Japanese Studies
Research interests: Early-modern Japanese popular literature as well as paleography and history of the book

University Senior Lecturer in Modern Japanese Politics and International Relations
Research interests: Cold War relationship between the USA & NE Asia, particularly Japan & the two Koreas; contemporary regional security issues, foreign policy & domestic politics

On sabbatical: September, 2020 to April, 2021
Senior Lecturer in Modern Japanese Studies, currently on sabbatical
Research interests: Japanese society, with emphasis on the cultural history and anthropology of daily life, including studies of sleep, gender, household waste (incl. plastics) and the impact of the 2011 tsunami.

Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History, Science and Civilization
Research interests: Classical and literary Chinese language and philology; cultural history of pre-imperial and early imperial China; text and manuscript studies

Professor of Modern Chinese History
Research interests: History of the Chinese Communist Party before 1949; the history of warfare in modern China; Chinese globalization in the 1850-1950 period

Kawashima Lecturer in Japanese Literature and Culture
Research interests: Modern and contemporary Japanese literature; Okinawan studies; writing by minorities in Japan; postcolonial studies; feminist criticism; translation theory.