SIMS is pleased to announce the 2021-2022 Graduate Student Fellowship recipient:
Hallie Nell Swanson is a third-year PhD student in the Religious Studies department at Penn, specializing in Islam in South Asia. She focuses on the relationship between Indo-Persian literary culture and Islamic ethics in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century North India, with a particular interest in material texts and embodied knowledge. Prior to Penn, Hallie studied Urdu, Hindi and Persian literature at Columbia University (BA, Comparative Literature) and the University of Oxford (MSc, Modern South Asian Studies).
For the 2021-22 academic year, Hallie is working with a set of manuscripts of Persian prose romances now held in Philadelphia and on OPenn’s Manuscripts of the Muslim World collection, used in India to teach the Persian language alongside Islamic ethics, whether as fine illustrated manuscripts for young princes or plainer copies to be annotated by schoolboys. With the advent of European trading companies and eventually colonialism, many manuscripts of these texts found their way into European and American private hands, auction houses and eventually libraries. Her project will make use of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts to map their circulation and show how the physical traces left by readers and owners can be used to chart changes in the texts’ perceived meanings and status.