Centenary and Marshall Fellows, 2021-22

Serape, c.1865, Unidentified, Navajo weaving, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, public domain


In October 2021 we welcome this year’s RHS Centenary and Marshall Fellows—Dan Armstrong (St Andrews), Humaira Chowdhury (Cambridge), Sonali Dhanpal (Newcastle) and Petros Spanou (Oxford)—who will use the Fellowships to complete their doctoral research in 2021-22.

The Fellowships are held in association with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and we look forward to working with Dan, Humaira, Sonali and Petros as they pursue their research in the coming year.

Dan Armstrong (St Andrews) for PhD research on ‘Anglo-Papal Relations, c.1066-c.1135’.

As a Centenary Fellow, Dan will complete his PhD on the subject of Anglo-Papal Relations, c.1066-c.1135, at the University of St Andrews. He aims to make the first comprehensive reassessment of the relationship between the kingdom of England and Rome since Z.N. Brooke’s book written 90 years ago.

Dan’s thesis therefore intends to dismantle this anachronistic scaffolding of conflict between church and state, arguing that any Anglo-Papal friction was situational as opposed to structural, with the norm being consensus and compromise.

Dan’s Centenary Fellowship at the RHS and IHR runs from October 2021 to March 2022.

Humaira Chowdhury (Cambridge) for PhD research on the social and economic history of Muslim tailors (darzis) in Calcutta, 1947-67.

Humaira’s work focuses on Muslim artisanal communities in Bengal and India after partition in 1947. Her research aims to bring together two different strands of literature on immobility and artisan agency in the context of Muslim stayers-on in West Bengal.

Humaira’s Marshall Fellowship at the RHS and IHR runs from October 2021 to March 2022.

Sonali Dhanpal (Newcastle) for PhD research on late-19th and early 20th-century Bangalore, for a PhD entitled ‘Contested Bangalore: Caste, colonial and princely politics’.

Sonali studies the city of Bangalore, south India, in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Breaking new ground on colonial urbanism in South Asia, her research focuses on Bangalore, a capital of a princely state, examining residential extensions and housing between the late 19th and early 20th century.

Sonali’s Marshall Fellowship at the RHS and IHR runs from October 2021 to March 2022.

Petros Spanou (Oxford) for PhD research on ‘The Crimean moment and crucible: just war, principles of peace and debates in Victorian wartime thought and culture, 1854-1856’.

Petros’s research examines the complex ways in which the idea of just war and the principles of the British peace movement framed important, yet hitherto overlooked, religious, intellectual, political and cultural debates during the Crimean War. Where earlier historians have studied the war intensively as an episode in diplomatic and military history, Petros seeks to advance fresh perspectives on the war’s cultural impact and place in Victorian consciousness.

Petros’s Centenary Fellowship at the RHS and IHR runs from January to June 2022.

The annual RHS Centenary Fellowship is funded by the Society. The Marshall Fellowship is fully funded by a charitable donation from a former RHS President, Professor Peter Marshall, to whom we are very grateful for his generosity. The Society has recently set up a Support Us page. All donations, large and small, are reserved to support historians at the start of their careers and are very gratefully received.