NELC PhD candidate Zachary Winters has been awarded a Fulbright Nehru Open Study/Research Award for 2020-21 to do research in India.
Zach will be conducting research in connection with his dissertation, "Sacral Kingship in the Bahmanī Sultanate, 748/1347-825/1422." A description of the project follows:
The project begins with a question: did the leaders of the late medieval Muslim sultanates of South India portray themselves as not simply capable military commanders and administrators, but as figures whose reigns were infused with esoteric significance? The Bahmanī Sultanate of the Deccan in the 1420s was a government in transition, with a new sultan in Aḥmad Shāh I attempting to make a name for himself in his new capital city of Bīdar. A figure of major importance at the court was Shaykh Āẕarī Isfarāyinī, who is usually thought of as primarily a Ṣūfī poet and historian, but who was also an advanced practitioner of the occult sciences in his own right. I will hope to explore both the work of Āẕarī and additional sources on the history of the Bahmanī Sultanate, with a particular focus on manuscript collections in Hyderabad. The project, then, will consider not only how the Bahmanī sultans presented themselves as rightful rulers to their own subjects in the Deccan, but also their connections to much broader intellectual networks across the Islamic world during the tumultuous period of the 15th century