Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, University of California, Berkeley

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California / Berkeley
Mobility and Locality: Afghan Identity in South India 1629-1779

I propose to follow the history of two Afghan family lineages, the Miyanas and the Pannis, over a hundred and fifty year time span between 1629 and 1779 as they moved across frontiers and between political centers in central and southern India. While attending to these groups' roles in the major political events of the period, I will also focus on situating them within their cultural contexts. Through attention to their literary production and participation in regional and extra-regional religious networks but also through practices of marriage, patronage, adoption, friendship and other ties that bound them to localities, I seek to uncover a political and cultural history focusing on themes often overlooked in state-centered narratives: the regular movement of groups across state frontiers, the construction of social identities spanning diverse cultural and political contexts, and the production of densely interlocked local, regional and transregional spheres of belonging. The project makes three interventions in existing historiography. Firstly it seeks to articulate a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be Afghan in early modern India across commonly divided time periods and geographies. Secondly, the project seeks to expand our understanding negotiations between local, regional and imperial power structures. Finally, the project aims to contribute to a body of scholarship on the nature of global transformations taking place in late medieval and early modern Eurasia.