South Asia and the Indian Ocean world; Indo-Persian literary and political culture under the Mughals and British
Office: Harris Hall #307
Rajeev K. Kinra (Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2008) specializes in South Asian intellectual history, particularly early modern Indo-Persian literary and political culture under the Mughal and British Empires (16th-19th centuries). His research draws on several linguistic traditions (especially Persian, but also Hindi-Urdu and Sanskrit), using archival sources to investigate diverse modes of civility, tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and modernity across the Indo-Persian and Indian Ocean worlds. Many of these themes are explored in his work on the life, Persian writings, and cultural-historical milieu of the celebrated Mughal state secretary and poet, Chandar Bhan “Brahman” (d. 1662-3), part of a book project tentatively titled Writing Self, Writing Empire: Chandar Bhan Brahman and the Cultural World of the Indo-Persian State Secretary. Kinra was on research leave for the 2010-11 academic year, when he was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and in the past his work has also been supported by the Fulbright commission, the Franke Institute for the Humanities (University of Chicago), the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Eastern Consortium on Persian and Turkish, and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS). He has given lectures at conferences and other academic meetings around the world, and served in Spring 2009 as one of two Virani Lecturers in Islamic Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Closer to home, Kinra has also given seminars for the Newberry Library’s teacher’s consortium, the Chicago chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Northwestern’s Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), Kellogg’s Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) series, and other groups in and around the Northwestern community. He currently serves on the advisory committees for Northwestern’s programs in International Studies (IS) and Asian and Middle East Studies (AMES).
Kinra regularly teaches a two-part course on the history of South Asia from roughly 1500 to the present, as well as a popular seminar called “Indiana Jones in Historical Context: Heroic Scholarship and the Imperial Imagination.” Since Winter 2012 he has also been teaching Part 1 of the History Department’s new Global History sequence, the curriculum for which he helped develop.
- “Make it Fresh: Time, Tradition, and Indo-Persian Literary Modernity,” in Time, History, and the Religious Imaginary in South Asia, edited by Anne C. Murphy (New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 12-39.
- “This Noble Science: Indo-Persian Comparative Philology, ca. 1000-1800 CE,” in South Asian Texts in History:
Critical Engagements with Sheldon Pollock, edited by Yigal Bronner, Lawrence McCrea, and Whitney Cox
(Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 2011), pp. 359-85.
- “Master and Munshī: A Brahman Secretary’s Guide to Mughal Governance,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 47, 4 (2010): 527-61 .
- “Infantilizing Bābā Dārā: The Cultural Memory of Dārā Shekuh and the Mughal Public Sphere,” Journal of Persianate Studies 2 (2009): 165-93
- “Fresh Words for a Fresh World: Tāza-Gū’ī and the Poetics of Newness in Early Modern Indo-Persian Poetry,” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory 3, 2 (2007): 125-49. Special number: “Time and history in Sikh and South Asian Pasts,” edited by Anne C. Murphy.