Department ofHistory

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Associate Professor of History
Faculty Liaison, Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum
On Research Leave, January-December 2024

209 Weaver Building

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 865-3968


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., University of California, Los Angeles
M.Phil., University of Delhi, India
M.A., University of Delhi, India
B.A., St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India
Jyoti Gulati Balachandran Headshot



I am a historian of medieval and early modern South Asia (c. 1200-1800) and the Indian Ocean world. My research focuses on social and cultural histories of Muslim communities in Gujarat and the western Indian Ocean. My first book reconstructs the literary, social and historical world of Sufi preceptors, disciples and descendants who shaped the textual articulations of the Muslim past and of the region of Gujarat from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Employing new and rarely used literary material in Persian and Arabic, Narrative Pasts departs from the narrow state-centered visions of the Muslim past and integrates Gujarat’s sultanate and Mughal past to the larger socio-cultural histories of Islamic South Asia.

I am currently working on a history of Muslim scholarly networks in the sixteenth-century western Indian Ocean using a variety of Arabic narrative texts produced in Gujarat and the Hejaz.

Recent Publications:

“Historical Convergences and Region Making in Sultanate Gujarat”, South Asian Studies, 39:2, 2023:173-185, published online: 25 Mar 2024. DOI: 10.1080/02666030.2023.2287830

“Writing in Arabic in Gujarat and the Hejaz: Some Reflections from the Early Modern Period”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 55, 2023:122–127 doi:10.1017/S0020743823000454

“Counterpoint: Re-assessing Ulughkhani’s History of Gujarat”, Asiatische Studien – Études Asiatiques, 74:1, 2020, pp.137–161. DOI:

Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, c. 1400-1650 (Oxford University Press, Spring 2020) – Featured in XQs-XXV on, here; Ajam Media Collective Podcast # 33, here; New Books Network Podcast, here; Ottoman History Podcast here. Finalist for the British Association for South Asian Studies Book Prize 2022 and the Karwaan Book Award 2022.

“Ḥājjī al-Dabīr” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Leiden: Brill, 2016, pp. 77-8.

“Exploring the elite world in the Siyar al-Awliyā’: Urban elites, their lineages and social networks”, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 52:3, September 2015, pp. 241-270.

“Malik Ayāz and his letter to Ottoman Sultan Selim I about the Christians controlling the coasts of India,” in Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, Volume VII: Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the New World (1500-1600), D. Thomas and J. Chesworth (eds), Leiden: Brill, 2015, pp. 768-773.


Recent Awards & Fellowships:

American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Senior Research Fellowship (July-December 2024)

Juynboll Fellowship, Scaliger Institute, Leiden University (Awarded 2020; deferred until 2021)

Faculty Scholar in Residence Fellowship, Penn State Humanities Institute (Fall 2019)

Courses Taught:

HIST 10 : World History to 1500

HIST 83: (First-Year Seminar): History of Islam in India
HIST 83: (First-Year Seminar): India – History, Politics, and Identity
HIST 169: History of the Indian Ocean World
HIST 170: South Asia to 1500
HIST 302W: Global India, c. 1500-1800
HIST 580: Early Modern Asia (Graduate Seminar)
HIST 589: World History – Themes and Approaches (Graduate Seminar)


Areas of Specialization: