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Grad Students

Naveen Kanalu Ramamurthy

Contact Information

Email    naveenkanal@gmail.com
Office  Not Available

Fields of Study

Early Modern South Asia

Seventeenth-century Mughal Empire

Premodern Islamicate Culture

Legal and Political Thought

Critical Theory 


My dissertation research examines the nature and structure of Islamicate sovereignty in the seventeenth-century Mughal Empire in South Asia. I develop an historical narrative to question the dominance of so-called Hanafi "legalism" in imperial politics. I address this problematic through a philological study of the imperial compilation of Hanafi rules, Al-fatawa al-‘alamkiriyya or “The Institutions of the World Conqueror” made in the 1660s as well as less-known Hanafi texts in Arabic and Persian from the seventeenth century. Questioning the prevalent historiographical position, which attributes Hanafi legalism to the Mughal Sultan, Aurangzeb 'Alamgir’s (r. 1658–1707) “Islamic orthodoxy” and "conservative religious policies", my research focuses instead on the doctrines of Sunni juridical authorities, networks, and institutions in the recomposition of the of Sultanate as a political institution. The elaboration of Islamic law transformed the Mughal polity from a more flexible Turco-Persian entity it inherited from the Delhi Sultanate into a regionalized empire under greater normative diversity. Examining a large corpus of Persian and Arabic jurisprudential and political texts and commentaries, which have been understudied, my dissertation seeks to demonstrate how the Mughal polity increasingly constituted itself as a “body-politic” in Islamic jurisprudential terms. In my research, I critically reassess the status and characteristics of early modern Islamic law, the posterity of Aurangzeb Alamgir’s compilation, and other Mughal jurisprudential treatises as they formed the basis for colonial modes of governance of Muslim communities before what came to be known as “Anglo-Mohammedan” civil law in late nineteenth-century British India.


“Le Sāhasabhīmavijayam ou Gadāyuddham de Ranna: une adaptation du Mahābhārata dans la littérature de l’ancien kannada.” Bulletin d’études indiennes, 28–29. 2010–2011, pp. 63–84.

Darstellung matérialiste: le cinéma en tant que perception non-intentionnelle du réel chez Walter Benjamin.” in Marc Berdet and Thomas Ebke (ed.) Matérialisme anthropologique et matérialisme de la rencontre. Traduire notre présent devant Walter Benjamin et Louis Althusser. Berlin: Xenomoi Verlag, 2013, pp. 673–680.

“Speaking of the Social as Subject-Positions: Subjectification, Subjectivation and Individuation.” in Pietro Garofalo (ed.) Frammenti di realtà sociale, Linguaggio e Società, 1. Palermo: Limina Mentis, 2015, pp. 221–235.

“Krishna Bharadwaj’s ‘Return to Classical Theory’: An Attempt towards an Archaeological Reconstruction.” European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 22 (5). October 2015, pp. 896–914.

Pirla Panduga: Muharram practices of the Deccan Weavers, their Migrations, Songs and Memories.” in Vijaya Ramaswamy (ed.) Migrations in Medieval and Early Colonial India, London: Routledge, 2016, pp. 89–124. 

Grants and Awards

Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, 2017

Junior Fellowship, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, 2017

Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Award, Graduate Division, UCLA, Summer 2017/ Summer 2016

University Fellowship, University of California Los Angeles, 2015–2020

Research Grant, Université franco-allemande, UFA-DFH, April 2013–March 2014

Research Grant, Centre interdisciplinaire d’études et de recherches sur l’Allemagne, CIERA, March–May 2013

Travel and Research grant, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy, July 2011

Aide à la mobilité étudiante (AMIE – Région Ile-de-France) scholarship for research stay abroad, October 2009–July 2010

Sélection internationale (Lettres) Fellowship, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, September 2007–August 2011


Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Chair)

Committee Members: Anthony Pagden, Asad Q. Ahmed, Peter J. Stacey


2011–2013 Master Iranian Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Paris

2011–2013 Master History of Economic Thought, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris

2010–2011 Master History and Actuality of Philosophy, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

2008–2009 Maîtrise Contemporary Philosophy, Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris

2007–2008 Licence Philosophy, Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris

2007–2011 Elève, École Normale Supérieure, Paris (Promotion 2007 – Sélection internationale)

2003–2006 B.A. (Honours) Economics,  University of Delhi, Delhi