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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Cynthia Talbot

Associate Professor PhD, 1988, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Cynthia Talbot

Contact

  • Phone: 475-7229
  • Office: GAR 3.406
  • Office Hours: Fall 2013: Wednesdays 1-3 p.m. & by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000

Biography

Research interests

Social and cultural history of medieval and early modern India (ca. 1000-1750); historiography and historical memories, Hindu-Muslim relations.

Courses taught

Mughal India and other courses on South Asia to 1750.

Awards/Honors 

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2008-2009  & 1992-93
Guggenheim Fellowship, 2007-2008
Institute for Advanced Study Membership, 2007-2008
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 2000-2001
American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Short-Term Grant, 1999 

Recent Publications: 

 Professor Talbot is the author of Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (2001); co-author, with Catherine B. Asher (University of Minnesota), of India Before Europe (2006); and editor of  Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past (2011). She is currently working on a book on historical traditions relating to the twelfth-century Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan.

Interests

Social and cultural history of medieval and early modern India (ca. 1000-1750); historiography and historical memories, Hindu-Muslim relations.

ISL 372 • Mughal India In Hist/Memory

42155 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as ANS 361, HIS 350L )
show description

This undergraduate seminar focuses on South Asia during the era of the Mughal empire.  Much of the Indian subcontinent came under the control of the Mughal dynasty, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity during which long-lasting economic and cultural linkages were formed between the various regions of the subcontinent.  Aside from its cultural splendor, political might, and booming economy, Mughal India is also important for the many ways in which it shaped South Asia's development in subsequent centuries.  We will therefore look not only at Mughal India at the height of imperial power between approximately 1550 to 1750, but also at the continuing legacies and symbolic relevance of the Mughal dynasty in British India and in India today.

The basic political history of the period will be covered in the course, through occasional lectures by the instructor and readings drawn from recent secondary scholarship on the Mughal empire.  However, the emphasis will be on exposing students first-hand to original sources from the Mughal period such as court chronicles and European travel accounts, as well as material from more recent eras such as films and historical novels.  Considerable class time will also be spent on the painting and architecture of the era, as well as on the religious patronage and social composition of the court elites.  By the end of the semester, students should be familiar with the main developments of the Mughal era and have a sense of how the Mughal dynasty has been remembered by later generations.

Texts:

1) Catherine B. Asher & Cynthia Talbot, India Before Europe

2) Andre Wink, Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World series)

3) Michael Fisher, Visions of Mughal India: An Anthology of European Travel Writing

4) Wheeler M. Thackston trans., Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor

5) course pack

Grading:

6 reading responses (300 words each)        20%

2 drafts of short paper (5 pages)            25%

research paper proposal                   5%

2 drafts of research paper (8-10 pages)        30%

attendance & participation                20%

ISL 372 • Mughal India In Hist/Memory-W

42070 • Spring 2010
Meets T 330pm-630pm GAR 2.128
(also listed as ANS 361, HIS 350L )
show description

Mughal India in History & Memory-W

Spring 2010, T 3:30-6:30                                                                                Cynthia Talbot

HIS 350L (39660)/ ANS 361 (30950)/ ISL 372 (42070)                                      GAR 2.128

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This undergraduate seminar focuses on South Asia during the era of the Mughal empire.  Much of the Indian subcontinent came under the control of the Mughal dynasty, ushering in a period of peace and prosperity during which long-lasting economic and cultural linkages were formed between the various regions of the subcontinent.  Aside from its cultural splendor, political might, and booming economy, Mughal India is also important for the many ways in which it shaped South Asia's development in subsequent centuries.  We will therefore look not only at Mughal India at the height of imperial power between approximately 1550 to 1750, but also at the continuing legacies and symbolic relevance of the Mughal dynasty in British India and in India today.  

The basic political history of the period will be covered in the course, through occasional lectures by the instructor and readings drawn from recent secondary scholarship on the Mughal empire.  Students will also be exposed students first-hand to original sources from the Mughal period such as court chronicles and European travel accounts, as well as material from more recent eras such as films, art, and comic books.  By the end of the semester, students should be familiar with the main developments of the Mughal era and have a sense of how the Mughal dynasty has been remembered by later generations.

READINGS (available through Blackboard):

1) Catherine B. Asher & Cynthia Talbot, India Before Europe, chaps. 5-9

2) Andre Wink, Akbar (Makers of the Muslim World series)

3) selections from Babur-nama  & Humayun-nama

4) selections from M. Fisher, Visions of Mughal India: An Anthology of
             European Travel Writing

5) Pratapaditya Pal, ”Romance of the Taj Mahal” (essay)

*Purchase for reference: Laurie G. Kirszner & Stephen R. Mandell, The Pocket
  Wadsworth Handbook
, 4th ed. (ISBN 1428229787)

REQUIREMENTS:

Because this is a seminar class that meets only once a week, the success of the course will depend heavily on student attendance and participation.  It is essential that students come to every class session prepared to discuss the assigned readings.  Hence, short written responses to the readings will be required during the first half of the semester – these must be at least 300 words in length apiece and are due at the beginning of the class session.  Students will also submit two drafts of a critical essay (5 pages or 1500 words) on a recent Bollywood movie, Jodhaa Akbar, with revisions based on peer review.  Later in the semester, students will engage in individual research on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.  This research project will proceed in several stages, including the submission of a paper proposal (with abstract and bibliography), oral presentation of research, and the writing of two drafts of a research paper (8-10 pages in length), with revisions based on instructor feedback. 

Various aspects of student performance will be weighted as listed below in determining the final grade for the course:

            6 reading responses (300 words each)                        20%

            2 drafts of critical essay on film (5 pages)                        25%

            research paper proposal                                                   5%

            oral presentation of research                                                  5%

            2 drafts of research paper (8-10 pages)                        30%

            attendance & participation                                                15%

Please note that pluses and minuses to the final letter grade will be applied in this course.

COURSE POLICIES:

-- Religious holy days sometimes conflict with class  schedules.  It is the policy of UT-Austin that you must notify each of your instructors at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates you will be absent to observe a religious holy day.

--  Because this course is a weekly seminar, student attendance and participation is critical.  Students will therefore be allowed no more than one absence without documented proof of good reason (such as severe illness or death in the family).  However, please note that attendance is mandatory on Feb. 16th, when we will conduct peer review.  Any additional absences will adversely affect the final grade for the course.

-- There are numerous written assignments spaced throughout the semester and it is vital that you do not fall behind.  Written assignments turned in late will be subject to a grade penalty, equivalent to a letter grade per week, at the instructor's discretion.

-- Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University.  Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.  Please note that plagiarism means not only the verbatim quoting of another's work without attribution but also the presentation of another's ideas as one's own. 

-- Students with disabilities who need special accommodations should notify the instructor by presenting a letter prepared by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office.  To ensure that the most appropriate accommodations can be provided, students should contact the SSD Office at 471-6259 or 471-4641 TTY.

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT INFORMATION:

Office Hours                        Tuesdays 11:00-1:00  & by appointment

Office                                    GAR 3.106;   tel. 475-9303

E-Mail Address            <ctalbot@mail.utexas.edu>

************************************************************************

Schedule of Class Meetings & Assignments

Jan. 19) INTRODUCTION TO COURSE

Jan. 26) FOUNDING THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

               reading: Asher & Talbot chap. 5; Andre Wink, Akbar pp. 1-35

               reading response 1:  What aspects of Akbar’s reign are covered in Asher &
                                              Talbot’s book but not in the assigned pages of Wink’s book?

Feb. 2) THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AKBAR

              reading: Andre Wink, Akbar pp. 45-119 (Chaps. 5-8)

              reading response 2:  In what ways was Akbar tolerant, according to Wink? 
                                                In what ways was he not?

Feb. 9)  ELITE CULTURE OF THE MUGHAL PERIOD

              reading: Asher & Talbot pp. 152-163 (from chap. 6) & chap. 7

              reading response 3:  Are aspects of Mughal elite culture still relevant today?

                        essay on film due electronically by noon Monday Feb. 15

Feb. 16)  PEER REVIEW OF JODHAA AKBAR ESSAYS

Feb. 23)  MEMOIRS & HISTORY WRITING AT THE MUGHAL COURT

                reading:  selection from Baburnama OR Humayun-nama

                reading response 4: What unique insights are provided by this memoir?

                        revised essay on film due in class (hard copy)

March 2)  INTERNATIONAL TRADE & FOREIGN TRAVELER’S ACCOUNTS

                readingVisions of Mughal India, pp. 38-58 (Monserrate) & 164-81 (Tavernier)

                reading response 5: What is similar and different in the two travel accounts?

March 9)  THE TAJ MAHAL IN THE WESTERN IMAGINARY

                reading: Pratapaditya Pal, “Romance of the Taj Mahal” &

                          “Treasures of the World: Taj Mahal” at

                          http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/taj_nav/main_tajfrm.html

                          also recommended: virtual tour website “Explore the Taj Mahal” at

                           http://www.taj-mahal.net/augEng/main_screen.htm

            reading response 6:  How do current-day attitudes toward the Taj Mahal compare
                                                to those from the 18th and 19th centuries? 

SPRING BREAK

March 23)  DECLINE OF THE MUGHAL EMPIRE

                    reading: Asher & Talbot chaps 8 & 9

March 30)  ISSUES IN MUGHAL HISTORY/ CHOOSING A RESEARCH TOPIC

            come to class having thought about possible research topics!

April 6)  CONDUCTING LIBRARY RESEARCH AT THE PCL 

            meet in PCL at 3 pm, room to be announced

April 13)  INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS W/ INSTRUCTOR 

            paper proposal & bibliography due at time of appointment

April 20)  INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH (NO CLASS)

April 27)  WRITING FIRST DRAFT (NO CLASS)

            first draft of research paper due by 3 pm (hard copy)

May 4)  ORAL PRESENTATIONS OF RESEARCH

                  5-10 minute presentations of research

final draft of research paper due by 3pm Wed. May 12th (hard copy)

Publications

EDITED BOOK. Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past.  Delhi: Yoda Press, 2011.  (edited volume)

BOOK. India Before Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. (co-authored with Catherine Asher)

BOOK.  Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra. NY: Oxford University Press, 2001. 

“Justifying Defeat: A Rajput Perspective on the Age of Akbar.”  Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 45.2-3 (Oct. 2012): 329-68.

"Contesting Knowledges in Colonial India: The Question of Prithviraj Raso's Historicity," in Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past, ed. Cynthia Talbot (Delhi: Yoda Press, 2011), pp. 171-212.

“The Society of Kakatiya Andhra,” in Rethinking Early Medieval India: A Reader, ed. Upinder Singh (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 166-88. (reprint of a chapter from Precolonial India in Practice)

"Becoming Turk the Rajput Way: Conversion and Identity in an Indian Warrior Narrative," Modern Asian Studies, 43. 1 (Jan. 2009): 211-243.  Reprinted in Expanding Frontiers in South Asian and World History, ed. Richard Eaton, Munis Faruqui, David Gilmartin, Sunil Kumar (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2013): 200-31. 

"Recovering the Heroic History of Rajasthan: James Tod and the Prithviraj Raso," in James Tod's Rajasthan: The Historian and His Collections, edi. Giles Tillotson (Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2007), pp. 98-109. 

"The Mewar Court's Construction of History,"  in The Kingdom of the Sun: Indian Court and Village Art from the Princely State of Mewar, ed. Joanna Williams (San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2007), pp. 12-33.

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