You are here: Home / Directory / Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Assistant Professor of History

209 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802


  1. Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  2. M.A., University of California, Los Angeles
  3. M.Phil., University of Delhi, India
  4. M.A., University of Delhi, India
  5. B.A., St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India


I’m a historian of Islamic South Asia, with a focus on the medieval and early modern periods (c. 1200-1800). I have worked extensively on Sufi texts written in South Asia, including Siyar al-Awliyā’, the first Sufi tazkirā (biographical dictionary) produced in north India in the mid-14th century. My first book, Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, c. 1400-1650 (forthcoming with Oxford University Press, Spring 2020), 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. My second project concerns the varied Arabic texts that a sixteenth-century Gujarat-born Muslim intellectual Qutb al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Nahrawālī produced in Mecca, his adopted home. I hope to employ Muḥammad al-Nahrawālī’s life and works to better understand the nature of trans-regional interactions and scholarly networks in the early modern Indian Ocean world.

Recent Publications:

“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.

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