Institut für Iranistik / Institute of Iranian Studies Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
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The Mughal Empire under Shah Jahan (1628–58) – New trends of research

International Workshop

Prof. Dr. Ebba Koch, Institute for Art History, Vienna University, Associate of the Institute of Iranian Studies
Dr. Stephan Popp, Research Fellow, Institute of Iranian Studies
Prof. Dr. Florian Schwarz, Director, Institute of Iranian Studies
Institute of Iranian Studies
Seminar room 2 (ground floor), Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Wien

The Mughal empire under Shah Jahan still is one of the least studied areas of Mughal history, the attention of historians has been directed mainly to Akbar and Aurangzeb, most recently also to Jahangir. One of the reasons for this neglect is that major historical texts regarding Shah Jahan are still un-edited and un-translated. But there also seems to be a more deeply rooted bias towards Shah Jahan. In contrast to the reign of Akbar which is considered to be the grand phase of Mughal state building, and the reign of Aurangzeb which is regarded as marking the beginning of Mughal decline, historians have seen the reign of Shah Jahan as a static and thus less interesting period which preserved the status quo established by Akbar. Art historians and cultural historians on the other hand have given more attention to Shah Jahan, for once they take the pride of place in an area of historical studies. From their findings Shah Jahan's rule has emerged as a highly dynamic phase where an increasing centralisation in the administration goes hand in hand with a formalisation of court ceremonial, architecture and the arts which, highly aestheticized, show themselves as a persuasive statement of his ideal and universal kingship. Shah Jahan becomes visible as the great perfectionist and systematiser of the Mughal empire.

Since 2009 a research focus on Shah Jahan has formed at the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences with a project on the emperor's palaces and gardens (Ebba Koch) and a project on historiography centering on the court historian Qazvini (Florian Schwarz, Stephan Popp).

The workshop will bring together, for the first time, international scholars of the Mughal empire belonging to various disciplines for a discussion of the period of Shah Jahan. It is hoped that the meeting will widen the discussion and have a synergetic effect to intensify research on Shah Jahan.

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS (in alphabetic order):

Anooshahr, Ali - University of California, Davis
Baburi, Saqib - SOAS, London
Chida-Razvi, Mehreen - SOAS, London
Farhat, Hasan - Delhi University
Haider, Najaf - Jawaharlal Nehru University, New  Delhi
Joshi, Harit - INALCO Paris
Khanna, Meenakshi - Indraprastha College, Delhi University
Kollatz, Anna - Oriental and Asian Studies, University of  Bonn
Koch, Ebba - University of Vienna
Kumar, Sunil - Delhi University
Lefèvre, Corinne - CNRS, Paris
Losty, J.P. - British Library, London
Popp, Stephan - Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
Ritter, Markus - University of Vienna
Sharma, Sunil - Boston University
Shekhar, Chander - Delhi University
Siebertz, Roman - University of Bonn
Stronge, Susan - Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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