Pranav Prakash

Pranav Prakash
PhD Candidate

Pranav Prakash is a Presidential Fellow of the Graduate College at the University of Iowa and a Newberry Library–École Nationale des Chartes Exchange Fellow in Paris. He is broadly
interested in the history and development of literary, religious and intellectual traditions in Persian, South Asian and Islamic societies. He specializes in the study of historical sources and literary works found in Persian, Tajiki, Dari, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Avadhi, Braj, Maithili, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali languages. As a researcher, he investigates diverse aspects of manuscript cultures, print textuality, religious poetry and literary history in western, central and southern parts of Asia. His current research projects are multidisciplinary in nature as they engage with the methods, theories and findings of religious studies, comparative literature, cultural history, philology, literary studies, history of the book and area studies.

 

His doctoral research explores the poetic oeuvre of Ḥasan Sijzī Dihlavī (1253–c.1336), its creative and critical engagement with early modern literary cultures, performative traditions, mystical thought and vernacular audiences. His doctoral dissertation is being supervised by Prof. Frederick M. Smith and Prof. Philip A. Lutgendorf. His dissertation committee is constituted of Prof. Carl. W. Ernst, Prof. Paul R. Greenough, Prof. Morten Schlütter and Prof. Paul Dilley. For unraveling the biography, literary oeuvre and cultural legacy of Ḥasan, he has conducted extensive archival and ethno-historiographic research in India, Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, England, France and the US.

 

He is the recipient of Newberry–École Nationale des Chartes Exchange Fellowship and Marcus Bach Fellowship for 2018–2019. The American Institute of Indian Studies, Chicago, granted him a Junior Research Fellowship and the Thomas W. Simons Fellowship for conducting archival and ethno-historiographic research in India in 2016–17. In the fall of 2016, he was an academic visitor at the Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London, and the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. In the spring of 2016, he was a visiting scholar at the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, University of North Carolina.

 

He graduated summa cum laude (darje-ye ‘āli) with an MA in Iranian Studies from the University of Tehran in 2014. His MA dissertation, Old Persian Story, New Iranian Book: The Politics of Textual Criticism in Iran (Dāstān-e Kohan-e Fārsi, Kitāb-e Novin-e Irān: Siyāsat-e Taṣḥiḥ-e Motun dar Irān), was supervised by Prof. Iraj Shahbāzi and co-advised by Prof. Mohammad Samiei. His MA thesis reflects on the political underpinnings of manuscriptology, codicology and critical textual editing of classical Persian literary works in modern Iran. He received an MA in Religious Studies (4.0 GPA) from the University of Iowa in 2015. 

 

As a primary instructor and teaching assistant in the departments of Religious Studies and Classics at Iowa, he has taught courses on Classical Mythology, Judaism, Buddhism and Eastern Religious Traditions. He taught Sanskrit and Prakrit to undergraduate and graduate students at the summer schools organized by the American Institute of Indian Studies, Chicago, in the precincts of the Deccan College, Pune. He taught Sanskrit to Iranian postgraduate students at the Khāne-ye Honar in Tehran, Iran. The UI Department of Religious Studies awarded him with the Alice Lampe Heidel & John B. Heidel Award in recognition of his commitment to teaching and exceptional service to undergraduate students.

 

He is the chief editor of the H-Net Mideast Politics (Humanities and Social Sciences Online, Michigan State University). He is a translator of Persian abstracts for the Muslim Civilizations Abstracts Project at the Aga Khan University, London. He has translated and transcribed Maithili folktales for an ethnographic project led by Prof. Coralynn V. Davis, Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies and Anthropology at the Bucknell University, and Mr. Carlos Gomez, an independent filmmaker and activist. He has copyedited and proofread the Avadhi text of Rāmcaritmānas for all of Prof. Philip Lutgendorf’s volumes of the Murty Classical Library published by the Harvard University Press. He used to host a regular talk show on the national radio of Iran, Ṣedā va Simā-ye Jamhuri-ye Islāmi-ye Iran, under the direction of Ms. Ṭāhira Julāni. He is deeply interested in classical Persian and Hindustani music, and he ardently loves painting and calligraphy.

Advisor:
Dr. Frederick M. Smith

Awards, Honors and Grants: 

2014-19

Presidential Fellowship, Graduate College, University of Iowa, US.

2018-19

Newberry Library – École Nationale des Chartes Exchange Fellowship, Paris, France.

2018-19

Marcus Bach Fellowship, University of Iowa, Iowa City, US.

2018

President & Mrs. Eugene Gilmore Award, in recognition of scholarship on the relationship
between religion and culture with an emphasis on the visual arts, by the Department of
Religious Studies, University of Iowa, Iowa City, US.

2017

Sally and Ken Mason Travel Grant, Office of the Executive Vice President & Provost,
University of Iowa, Iowa City, US.

2016

Junior Research Fellowship and Thomas W. Simons Fellowship by the American Institute
of Indian Studies (AIIS), Chicago, US.

2016

T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Iowa, Iowa
City, US.

2015

Alice Lampe Heidel & John B. Heidel Award, in recognition of commitment to teaching
and exceptional service to undergraduate students, by the Department of Religious Studies,
University of Iowa, US.

2012-14

University of Tehran’s Academic Scholarship for Graduate Studies, in recognition of
academic excellence in the field of Iranian Studies, awarded consecutively for the academic
years 2012-13 and 2013-14, by the Faculty of World Studies, Tehran, Iran.

2012

Barbara W. and Rex E. Montgomery Award, in recognition for academic excellence in the
field of religious studies, by the Department of Religious Studies, University of Iowa, US.

2012

Stanley – University of Iowa Summer Language Scholarship, US.

2011

Stanley Fellowship for Graduate Student Research Abroad, University of Iowa, US.

2011

Stanley – University of Iowa Summer Language Scholarship, US.

2010-12

Presidential Fellowship, Graduate College, University of Iowa, US.