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Jawan Shir Rasikh

PhD Candidate


  • PhD., South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania (Class of 2019).
  • MA.,  World History, James Madison University (2012).
  • BA.,   Economics & Internatoinal Relations, Kabul University-James Madison University (2010). 


My dissertation, ' Islam in the Hindukush Mountains: Islamization of the Medieval Ghur in Afghanistan, 10th-12th centuries CE,' explores the political and religious transformations of Ghur from a hinterland caricatured (to the point of ridicule) by medieval Muslim literary and historical sources for its peoples’ pagan identities, heretical practices, and rural impoverishment, to its status as a center of the eastern Islamic empire in the twelfth century when the Ghuris (r. 1150-1215) established themselves as one of the most important Islamic dynasties in pre-Mongol Afghanistan. I revisit the medieval primary sources in Persian, such as universal and local histories, geographical manuals, and literary works, to investigate Muslim conquests of Ghur, the social processes of acculturating Islam in the area, and explicit conversions to Islam by local ruling households such as the Shansabanis and Shishanis. For my dissertation, I engage one medieval historical text, Juzjani’s Tābāqāt-i Nāsīri (c. 1260), the main historical source for pre-Islamic and Islamic histories of Ghur and the Ghuris. Existing scholarship has mined this text as a dynastic history, including studies on the founding of the Delhi Sultanate and the movement of military elites between Central and South Asia. My study departs from this by exploring on how the TN documents significant transformations in society and polity at the local level in Ghur.

Research Interests

Tabaqat-i Nasiri, Juzjani, Ghur, and Afghanistan have been the key text, person, and places in my mind and heart for the past couple of years, with thinkning and writing on them in my dissertation in the contexts of development of Islamic society in South Asia, Eastern Iran, and Central Asia, roughly the period between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. I also have deep interests in Islamic intellectual history, world history, biographical history, geography, and translation. 


Selected Publications

CV (url)