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Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Assistant Professor of History

209 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2012
  2. MA, University of California, Los Angeles, 2006
  3. M.Phil., University of Delhi, India, 2005
  4. MA, University of Delhi, India, 2002
  5. BA, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India, 2000


I’m a historian of Islamic South Asia, with a focus on the medieval and early modern periods (c. 1200-1800). I have worked extensively on Sufi texts written in South Asia, including Siyar al-Awliyā’, the first Sufi tazkirā (biographical dictionary) produced in north India in the mid-14th century. My current book-project titled, Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in 15th-century Gujarat, is a social and cultural history of the Muslim community in late medieval Gujarat. It argues that from the fifteenth century, the sustained narrative articulations of the Muslim community’s past and identity took place in hagiographical texts usually ascribed to spiritual fraternities – malfūz̤āt, manāqib and ta­zkirāt, and not solely, or even dominantly, in the histories of the state (tawārīkh) commissioned by the region’s independent rulers, the Sultans of Gujarat. More broadly, Narrative Pasts underscores the narrative power of texts in creating communities and establishing links between migration, mobility, and forms of geographical, social and cultural identification in the pre-modern world. My second project concerns the varied Arabic texts that a sixteenth-century Gujarat-born learned Muslim Qutb al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Nahrawālī produced in Mecca, his adopted home. I hope to employ Muḥammad al-Nahrawālī’s life and works to better understand the nature of trans-regional interactions and scholarly networks in the early modern Indian Ocean world.

Recent Publications:

“Ḥājjī al-Dabīr” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Leiden: Brill, 2016, pp. 77-8.

“Exploring the elite world in the Siyar al-Awliyā’: Urban elites, their lineages and social networks”, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 52:3, September 2015, pp. 241-270.

“Malik Ayāz and his letter to Ottoman Sultan Selim I about the Christians controlling the coasts of India,” in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, Volume VII: Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the New World (1500-1600), D. Thomas and J. Chesworth (eds), Leiden: Brill, 2015, pp. 768-773.

Recent Courses:

HIST 83: (First-Year Seminar): History of Islam in India
HIST 197: Special Topics: History of the Indian Ocean World

Areas of Specialization:

Early Modern Global:
South Asia: