Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Holly Shaffer is an Assistant Professor of History of Art and Archetecture. She specializes in eighteenth and nineteenth century art and architecture in South Asia and Britain.

Shaffer's forthcoming book, Grafted Arts: The Marathas and the British in Western India, 1760-1820, was recently awarded the 2021 American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Indian HumanitiesGrafted Arts, which will be published by the Paul Mellon Centre in association with Yale University Press, focuses on Maratha military rulers and British East India Company officials who used the arts to engage in diplomacy, wage war, compete for prestige, and generate devotion as they allied with, or fought against, each other to control western India in the eighteenth century. 

The AIIS Book Prize Committee lauded Professor Shaffer for her “imaginative use of a ‘grafted arts’ framework to examine the artistic creations and collections that resulted from the intermixing of the Marathas and the British in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.” They noted that the “erudite and well-written book manuscript is also impressive in how effectively it engages the art, economic, military, political, and social histories of western India and the British Empire and draws on a rich array of source materials from archives and art collections in India, England, and the U.S. It is also unique in that it connects up moments, actors, and objects that are usually analyzed discretely and considers ‘western India as its center of inquiry with Britain a node in its network.’” Read the full announcement and learn more about Grafter Arts.

Congrulations, Professor Shaffer!