Gardens as Spaces of Power for Royal Women in the Premodern Islamicate World

Feb 5, 2024, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
202 Jones Hall
Free and open to the public



Event Description

Namrata B. Kanchan obtained her doctoral degree from the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 2023. Her dissertation examines the genesis of early modern Dakani literature in western India’s Deccan sultanate courts through the study of the region's manuscript and material culture. In 2023, she won the Historian of Islamic Art Association sponsored Margaret B. Ševčenko Prize for her paper on calligraphic choices in early modern Dakani manuscripts. She is also the recipient of the Khamseen Art Online 2023 graduate student award for her presentation titled A Legacy of Female Power: Representations of Queen Humayun Shah from the Deccan’s Ahmadnagar Sultanate.

Gardens in the Islamicate cultural landscape, as earthly reflections of paradise, are sites of  leisure, sensory pleasure, and relaxation. Images of royal women in gardens emerged in some scholarship as a window into a secluded and sensual female domain where these “passive” and "domestic" women passed their time. Yet, in the Turco-Mongol and subsequent Mughal context, gardens emerged as sites of power. In this talk, I expand upon recent research on Mongol and Persianate royal women and their pivotal role in the socio-political domains to demonstrate that women relied on the same visual idioms of the garden as their male counterparts to showcase authority.

  • Department of Near Eastern Studies
  • Near Eastern Studies Program