Seminar: Dr Neha Vermani, 'The Emperor's Table': Politics of Ritualised Consumption at the Mughal Court | Shiv Nadar University
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Seminar: Dr Neha Vermani, 'The Emperor's Table': Politics of Ritualised Consumption at the Mughal Court

Drawing attention to the hitherto marginalised history of food practices at the Mughal court, this paper explores the intersections between ritualised acts of food and wine consumption, notion of kingship and the relationship between the emperor and his elites that informed the Mughal court society from sixteenth to eighteenth century. Challenging the ahistorical narrative of decadence associated with early modern South Asian court societies, the paper marks a significant departure from the historiographical trends which, almost as a guilt ridden corrective, abjure analysis of consumption practices to privilege the study of production processes or alternatively, focus on administrative-bureaucratic mechanisms as factors regulating the relationship between the emperor and the imperial elites. Moving beyond this framework the paper will nuance ritualised acts of consumption as technologies of power as well as techniques of subjectivation. Concomitantly, the consumption practices and discourses employed by the Mughal emperors to fashion themselves as ‘universal’ sacred and temporal sovereigns and exercise limited control over the bodies of the imperial elites will be delineated through textual, visual and material sources

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 17, 2019 -

Neha Vermani received her doctorate in History from Royal Holloway University of London in 2019. Her PhD thesis, “From the Court to the Kitchens: Food Practices of the Mughal Elites” delves into the history of food consumption at Mughal court from the 16th to the 18th century and engages with the themes of rituals, emotions, medicine, ethics, pleasure and connoisseurship practices.

Thursday 17, Oct 2019
12:00 PM - 01:45 PM
D 330