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Muslim Intellectual History in Mughal South Asia

JD Hoyt

Muslim Intellectual History in Mughal South Asia

October 06, 2023 - October 07, 2023 / 9:30 am - 5:30 pm / Add to Google
340 Stephens Hall

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) presents Muslim Intellectual History in Mughal South Asia, a two-day conference.

Fresh waves of research on the postclassical Islamic East are reshaping the shores of South Asian and Islamic studies. Recovering from the long shadow of decline theories and narratives, the ongoing study of Muslim intellectual pursuits in the subcontinent is bringing to light a world far more dynamic than previously believed. The region appears better situated within transregional contexts, while offering unique intellectual trajectories with reverberations across a broader range of fields. This conference features specialists presenting research on Muslim intellectual history in Mughal South Asia within the following areas:

Panel I. Philosophy, Science, and Theology
Panel II. Jurisprudence and Exegesis
Panel III. Islamo-Sanskrit Engagement
Panel IV. Literature and Representation

Despite great strides in the study of the social, political, and cultural institutions of early modern South Asia, these efforts are yet to be reconciled with parallel developments in the study of knowledge production across Persianate frontiers. Meanwhile within history of ideas, we are only gradually overcoming the trappings of conventional accounts of intellectual life in the region, specifically the sweeping theses of intellectual marginality and decline grounded in dichotomies like canon vs. commentary, rationalism vs. mysticism/scripturalism, Arabic orthodoxy vs. Persian/Indian cosmopolitanism, and their projection onto the source material at face value, i.e., as exhaustive binaries that tend to obfuscate actual disciplinary frameworks, literary practice, and transmission of knowledge. While there is growing consensus that the postclassical intellectual currents were longer lasting and more intricate than previously believed, the variegated details of this past pose new methodological challenges.

Organized by Asad Q. Ahmed, CMES Chair, Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Department of Philosophy, Senior Research Scholar, CMES; S. Shiraz Ali, Graduate Student in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures; Daniyal Channa, Graduate Student in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures.

The conference program may be viewed here. Please read more details about this event on the CMES website.

340 Stephens is ADA-accessible. Please view this website for more details about accessing Stephens Hall. If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Nathan Spannaus at with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.

Presented by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Department of History, and the Institute for South Asian Studies.