The Small Things of History: Archive for Nur Jahan, the Great Mughal by Ruby Lal

Join us for this talk by Professor Ruby Lal on Empress Nur Jahan. This is a keynote address as part of the South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2018 being held at UBC from March 2nd – 3rd. The other keynote address by Professor Gyanendra Pandey will be held at 5 pm on March 2nd. 

Nur Jahan was the only woman ruler in the long dynasty of India’s great Mughals. How did the Empress’s extraordinary strengths, the emperor’s lamentable weaknesses, the twists and turns of 17th-century politics, and the power of their love combine to defy a time and a culture that ought to have made the reign of Nur Jahan impossible? And why is it that this phenomenal figure has been effectively expunged from Mughal histories?

Ruby Lal is Professor of South Asian History at Emory University, Atlanta. She holds a D.Phil. in Modern History from the University of Oxford, UK, and an M.Phil in History from the University of Delhi, India. She has taught at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in History and Anthropology, and served as Associate Director of the Program for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Her fields of study include feminist history and theory, and the question of archive as it relates to writing about Islamic societies in the precolonial and colonial world. Her first book, Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005) won much acclaim, including numerous reviews in major international journals and magazines, such as The New York Review of Books, The Economic and Political Weekly, Revue Historique, and The Times Literary Supplement. Her second book, Coming of Age in Nineteenth Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2013) was reviewed extensively in academic journals and magazines with wider intellectual concerns. Her current, creative non-fiction work is a narrative history of the Mughal Empress Nur Jahan, EMPRESS: The Astonishing Life of Nur Jahan (W.W. Norton, NY, forthcoming Spring 2018). Her published work is widely cited, and she is frequently invited to speak at academic and non-academic settings. Her short stories have appeared in Indian Literature and in The Little Magazine. She is revising her short-story collection, Rubble and Other Stories.

This is a keynote address as part of the South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2018 being held at UBC from March 2nd – 3rd. If you would like to stay for lunch or dinner as part of the conference, please pre-register for your meals here by February 25 . The cost of meals is $10 for lunch or dinner, each, to be paid in cash on site. Kindly note that the conference does not require a registration fee and the charges are only for meals catered to you during SACPAN. 

This talk is co-sponsored by the UBC Department of Asian Studies and Faculty of Arts Speaker Series.