2013 Archives

SMU Professor wins the American Historical Association’s 2013 John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History

November 1, 2013

Washington, DC — A. Azfar Moin, assistant professor of history at Southern Methodist University, has been selected as the winner of the 2013 John F. Richards Prize for his book The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (Columbia Univ. Press, 2012).

The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in IslamThe John F. Richards Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) and honors the most distinguished work of scholarship on South Asian history published in English. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Association’s 128th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, January 2-5, 2014.

Azfar MoinMoin’s book was selected by a prize review committee of AHA members including Durba Ghosh, Chair (Cornell Univ.), David P. Gilmartin (North Carolina State Univ.), and Cynthia Talbot (Univ. of Texas, Austin).

“Like the Safavids in Iran, Mughal emperors from Babur to Aurangzeb embedded their sovereign authority in cosmic, messianic imaginings, linked to sufism, astrology, genealogy, and millennialism,” noted Durba Ghosh, the 2013 Richards Prize committee chair and associate professor of history at Cornell University.

Ghosh continued, “Using mainly Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Urdu texts—and Mughal miniature painting—Moin shows how claims to authority were cast in a universalism transcending any single form of religion. His work will recast how we imagine the dynamics of sovereignty during the Mughal era.”

Moin is assistant professor in SMU's Clements Department of History. His research and writing focuses on early-modern South Asia and the Islamic world.

Read more about Moin's book.

About The 2013 John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History

The John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on South Asian history published in English. South Asia is defined as the geographic area included in the modern states of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Eligibility is defined quite broadly, including books on any period or field of South Asian historical studies and works which integrate South Asian history with broader global issues and movements. In making its selection, the prize committee will pay particular attention to depth of research, methodological innovation, conceptual originality and literary excellence.

About The American Historical Association

The American Historical Association is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies. The AHA provides leadership for the discipline, protects academic freedom, develops professional standards, aids in the pursuit and publication of scholarship, and supplies various services to sustain and enhance the work of its members. As the largest organization of historians in the United States, the AHA is comprised of over 14,000 members and serves historians representing every historical period and geographical area. For further information, visit www.historians.org or call 202-544-2422.

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