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Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran

Assistant Professor of History

Faculty Liaison, Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum

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 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:

“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 GujaratNarrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, c. 1400-1650 (Oxford University Press, Spring 2020) - Featured in XQs-XXV on, here.

“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:

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 580: Early Modern Asia (Graduate Seminar)
HIST 589: World History - Themes and Approaches (Graduate Seminar)