This edited collection on gender, per formance, and autobiography in South
Asia has evolved through ongoing discussions at several workshops and confer-
ences connected with the international research network Women’s Autobiogra-
phy in Islamic Socie ties ( We are extremely grateful to the
Arts and Humanities Research Council in the United Kingdom for funding this
pro ject so munificently over two years (2010–11). During that time, the editors
or ga nized two academic events that especially facilitated this collection: a panel
entitled “Speaking of the Self? Women and Self- Representation in South Asia”
at the Eu ropean Conference on Modern South Asian Studies at Bonn Uni-
versity in Germany in July 2010, and the workshop Women’s Autobiography in
Islamic Socie ties: Context and Construction” at the India International Centre
in New Delhi, India, in December 2010. The latter also received the generous
support of Delhi University and the Centre for the Study of International Gov-
ernance at Loughborough University. Our thanks to a number of other scholars
who participated in these events, but did not ultimately prepare papers for this
volume, for their extremely useful contributions. The Department of Politics,
History and International Relations at Loughborough University (where Siobhan
Lambert-Hurley has been based) also hosted Anshu Malhotra as a visiting
scholar in May 2011, during which time we researched and planned the volume’s
introduction. A later draft was then presented at the conference “Unveiling the
Self: Women’s Life Narratives in the  Middle East and South Asia,” hosted by the
inspirational Professor Farzaneh Milani at the University of Virginia at Charlot-
tesville in the United States in October 2012. Special thanks to Evelyn Hiscock
for literally holding the baby— four-month-old Tess Lambert- Hurley—while we
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