Thibaut d'Hubert

Assistant Professor
Office: Foster Hall 211
Phone: (773) 702 1333

Thibaut d’Hubert’s research focuses on premodern Bengali literature. He studied Bengali and Persian at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO, Paris), from which he obtained his M.A. He was also trained in Sanskrit at the department of Indian Studies, Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle. He completed his Ph.D. at the fourth section (Historical and Philological Sciences) of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) in Paris in 2010. His dissertation analyzed the poetics of the works of Ālāol (fl. 1651-71), a prolific author who translated poetry from Hindavi (/Avadhi) and Persian into Bengali. Thibaut is also an associate researcher of the UMR 7528 Mondes iranien et indien (Paris) and he was a fellow of the Zukunftsphilologie program (Berlin) during the academic year 2013-14.

Thibaut’s main field of research is the literary history of Bengal. His interests include Indic and Perso-Arabic poetics, Middle Bengali philology, scribal practices, traditional South Asian hermeneutics, literary multilingualism, and the history of translation. Alongside critical editions of various premodern Bengali, Sanskrit, and Persian texts, he is currently working on a book project about Ālāol and Bengali poetics, titledIn the shade of the Golden Palace: Ālāol (fl.1651-1671), a Bengali Poet between Worlds. With Alexandre Papas (CNRS/CETOBAC, Paris), he organized a multidisciplinary project on the reception of the works of the Persian polymath of Herat, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (1414-1492) (see links below).

Thibaut’s next project will look at the spread of Persian literacy in Bengal’s society during the late Mughal period and the formation of the literary idiom called dobhāṣī (also known as Musulmani Bengali) in the mid-eighteenth century in western Bengal. A related project, which Thibaut undertook within the framework of the online encyclopedia Perso-Indica and of the Zukunftsphilologie program, is titled “The Celtic Fringe and Early Orientalism in Bengal, ca. 1770–1790: Editing and analyzing the Indo-Persian texts of the Staatsbibliothek’s John Murray Collection.” It examines one of the largest private collections of Persian texts that had been brought back to Europe from Bengal in the final decade of the eighteenth century.


  • Ph.D., Oriental Languages, Civilizations and Societies, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris
  • M.A., Bengali, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris
  • B.A., Sanskrit, Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle

Thibaut d'Hubert CV

Field Specialties

Bengali language and literature, history of translation, Indo-Persian culture, Sufism, cultural interactions between South and Southeast Asia

Publications Include:

  • “Living in Marvelous Lands: Islamic Cosmography and a Bengali Version of the Adventures of Saif Al-Mulūk.” In The Persianate World: Towards a Conceptual Framework, edited by Abbas Amanat and Assef Ashraf. Leiden: Brill, (forthcoming).
  • “Foundational Mahabbat-nāmas: The Reception of Jāmī’s Yūsuf u Zulaykhā in Bengal (ca. 16th-19th).” In Jāmī and the Intellectual History of the Muslim World: The Trans-Regional Reception of ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works, C. 9th/15th-14th/20th, edited by Thibaut d’Hubert and Alexandre Papas. Handbuch der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Nahe und der Mittlere Osten. Leiden: Brill, (scheduled for 2016).
  • “The Lord of the Elephant: Interpreting the Islamicate epigraphic, numismatic and literary material from the Mrauk U period of Arakan (ca. 1430−1784).” Journal of Burma Studies, (forthcoming 2015).
  • “Compositional Patterns in the Seventeenth-Century Bengali Literature of Arakan.” In Tellings and Texts: Music, Literature and Performance Cultures in North India, edited by Francesca Orsini and Katherin Brown. Cambridge: Open Books Publishers, 2015.
  •  “Arākān aur janūb-i mashriqī Bangāla-desh mẽ musulamānõ kī tahdhīb aur zabānẽ.” Translated by Timsal Masud. Maʿārif 194 (2014): 265–88.
  • “‘Bhāṅgiẏā kahile tāhe āche bahurasa’: Madhyayuger kavi Ālāoler anuvāda-paddhati.” Vabnagar1 (April 2014): 59–76.
  • “La diffusion et l’usage des manuscrits bengalis dans l’est du Bengale, xviie-xxe siècles.” Edited by Maria Szuppe and Nalini Balbir. Eurasian Studies, Special Issue: Lecteurs et copistes dans les traditions manuscrites iraniennes, indiennes et centrasiatiques ; Scribes and Readers in Iranian, Indian and Central Asian manuscript traditions 12 (2014): 325–60.
  •  “Pirates, Poets, and Merchants: Bengali Language and Literature in Seventeenth-Century Mrauk-U.” In Culture and Circulation: Literature in Motion in Early Modern India, edited by Thomas de Bruijn and Allison Busch. Brill’s Indological Library 46. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
  • “Bengal, Poetry of.” In The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, edited by Roland Greene, 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.
  • with Jacques P. Leider. “Traders and Poets at the Mrauk U Court: On Commerce and Cultural Links in Seventeenth-Century Arakan.” In Pelagic Passageways: Dynamic Flows in the Northern Bay of Bengal World before the Appearance of Nation States, edited by Rila Mukherjee, 345–79. New Delhi: Primus Books, 2011.
  • “Bengali Literature”; “ʿAbd al-Ḥakīm”; “Ālāol/ʿAlāwal”; “Ḥayāt Maḥmūd”; “Sylhet Nagari”; “Sayyid Sulṭān”Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Edited by Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas and Everett Rowson. Leiden: Brill, 2010-2015.
  • with Paul Wormser. “Représentations du monde dans le golfe du Bengale au xviie siècle: Ālāol et Rānīrī.” Archipel 76 (2008): 15–35.
  • “Le prince devenu esclave: l’histoire de Harishchandra dans le Râmâyana bengali.” Synergies 2 (2007): 217–30.
  • “La réception d’un succès littéraire persan dans les campagnes du Bengale: une traduction de Jāmī par le poète Ābdul Hākim.” Bulletin d’Études Indiennes24–25 (2007 2006): 121–38.
Book projects:
  • with Alexandre Papas, eds. Jāmī and the Intellectual History of the Muslim World: The Trans-Regional Reception of ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works, C. 9th/15th-14th/20th. Handbuch Der Orientalistik. Erste Abteilung, Nahe Und Der Mittlere Osten. Leiden: Brill, (scheduled for 2016).
  • In the shade of the Golden Palace: Ālāol (fl.1651-1671), a Bengali Poet between Worlds.
Critical editions and translations:
  • with Muzaffar Alam. Meaningful Rituals: Persian, Arabic and Bengali in the Nūrnāma tradition of Eastern Bengal.
  • An Original Eighteenth-century Bengali Commentary on Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Mukundamuktāvalī.
  • with Saymon Zakaria, eds. Ālāoler Saẏphulmuluk Badiujjāmāl (critical edition in Bengali and Arabic scripts).

Related links:

Past Bangla related events at U of C:
Performing the Bengal Borderlands
Catherine Masud at U of C
The Norman Cutler Conference on South Asian Literature
Tagore Conference