Introduction to the Mughal Empire

TTh 12:30-1:59P
Faruqui, Munis D

This course is designed to provide a dual chronological and thematic approach to the study of one of the great empires in human civilization: the Mughal Empire. Although the bulk of this course will focus on the Mughal Empire during its heyday between the 1550s and the early 1700s, careful attention will be paid to the larger historical and geographical contexts that both enabled the emergence and, ultimately, decentralization of Mughal power. In so doing, this course will not only study South Asia’s complex history on its own terms but also examine the intricate web of political, economic and social links that connected South Asia to the rest of the world. Simultaneously, this course will also pay particular attention to a series of common misconceptions that dog the study of pre-modern Islamic polities. Among them: the supposedly lesser role played by women in politics; the dogmatic and central role of Islam in “Muslim” states; and the economic and political superiority of Western Europe. Crucial to these questions also is an examination of the historiography and historiographical traditions that have come to define contemporary understanding of the Mughal Empire.

Fall 2019