Thibaut d'Hubert




Thibaut d'Hubert Associate Professor
 Office: Foster Hall 211
 Phone: (773) 702 1333
 Email:
 dhubert@uchicago.edu

Thibaut d’Hubert’s research focuses on Middle Bengali poetry and the literary history of Bengal. 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. (2010) and Habilitation à diriger des recherches (2018) at the fourth section (Historical and Philological Sciences) of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) in Paris. 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 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. He is also the co-organizer of annual retreats devoted to the study of Middle Bengali language and literature (voices.uchicago.edu/middlebengali/) and he is co-editor of CUP’s Library of Bengali Literature (https://cup.columbia.edu/library-of-bengali-literature).

His interests include Indic and Perso-Arabic poetics, Middle Bengali philology, scribal practices, traditional South Asian hermeneutics, literary multilingualism, and the history of translation. His monograph In the Shade of the Golden Palace: Ālāol and Middle Bengali Poetics in Arakan explores the oeuvre of the prolific Bengali poet and translator Ālāol (fl. 1651-71), who rendered five narrative poems and one versified treatise from medieval Hindi and Persian into Bengali. The book maps the genres, structures, and themes of Alaol’s works, paying special attention to the poet’s own discourse on poetics and his literary genealogy. The monograph operates on three levels: as a unique vade mecum for readers of Middle Bengali poetry, a detailed study of the cultural history of the frontier region of Arakan, and a contribution to the poetics of South Asian literatures. 

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). The outcome of this project is a collective volume titled Jāmī in Regional Contexts: The Reception of ʿAbd al-Ramān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World, C. 9th/15th-14th/20th (Leiden: Brill, 2019). This volume is the first attempt to discuss the wide reception of the works of Jāmī in the domains of poetry, grammar, hagiography, and technical mystic literature in various regions of the Islamicate world. In addition to important updates on Jāmī’s presence in Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Persianate intellectual traditions, and on the study of his poems and treatises by scholars of Sanskrit and Arabic, the volume offers discussions on the role of this towering figure and his works in the creation of vernacular traditions in local contexts.

D’Hubert is currently working on a book project about Persian and Middle Bengali Islamic creation stories, and the spread of Persian, Arabic, and vernacular literacy in eastern Bengal. The book is titled Meaningful Rituals: Persian, Arabic and Bengali in the Nūrnāma Tradition of Eastern Bengal (Delhi: Primus Books, forthcoming). His next project will look at the diffusion of Persian literacy in Bengal’s society during the late Mughal period and the formation of the literary idiom called Dobhāṣī (also known as Musalmani Bengali) in the mid-eighteenth century in western Bengal.

Curriculum Vitae

Education

  • Habilitation à diriger des recherches (HDR), École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris
  • 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

Field Specialties

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

Publications Include:

NB: Some of the following publications are availble on Academia.edu.

Monographs

Oxford Scholarship Online

OUP South Asia edition

  • Meaningful Rituals: Persian, Arabic and Bengali in the Nūrnāma Tradition of Eastern Bengal. Delhi: Primus Books, (forthcoming 2019).

Volume

  • with Alexandre Papas, eds. Jāmī in Regional Contexts: The Reception of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World, C. 9th/15th-14th/20th. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1 The Near and Middle East.. Leiden: Brill, 2019. https://brill.com/view/title/39351?format=HC

Critical editions and translations

  • with Saymon Zakaria, eds. Ālāoler Saẏphulmuluk Badiujjāmāl (critical edition). (Work in progress)
  • Alaol, The Travels of Sayphulmuluk. Translation under agreement with Murty Classical Library of India and Harvard University Press.

Articles and Contributions to Edited Volumes

  • “Chézy et l’étude du sanskrit à partir de manuscrits en caractères bengalis,” in Le sanctuaire dévoilé. Antoine-Léonard Chézy et les débuts des études sanskrites en Europe 1800-1850, edited by Jérôme Petit and Pascale Rabault-Feuerhahn, Paris: Geuthner ; Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2019.
  • “Persian at the Court or in the Village? The Elusive presence of Persian in Bengal.” In The Persianate World: The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca, edited by Nile Green. Berkeley: University of California Press, (forthcoming, March 2019). https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520300927/the-persianate-world
  • “‘India Beyond the Ganges’: Defining Arakanese Buddhism in Persianate Colonial Bengal.” Indian Economic & Social History Review 56, no. 1 (2019). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0019464618817371
  • “Foundational Mahabbat-nāmas: The Reception of Jāmī’s Yūsuf u Zulaikhā in Bengal (ca. 16th-19th).” In Jāmī in Regional Contexts: The Reception of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World, ca. 9th/15th-14th/20th. Edited by Thibaut d’Hubert and Alexandre Papas. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1 The Near and Middle East. Leiden: Brill, 2019.
  • “Living in Marvelous Lands: Persianate Vernacular Literatures and Cosmographical Imaginaires around the Bay of Bengal.” In The Persianate World: Rethinking a Shared Sphere, Edited by Abbas Amanat and Assef Ashraf. Iran Studies 18 (Leiden: Brill, 2019). https://brill.com/view/title/39353
  • “A Persian Account of the Religious Customs of the Magh (Arakanese) from Early Colonial Bengal.” Iranian Studies 51 (October 2, 2018): 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/00210862.2018.1520572.
  • with Muzaffar Alam, “Mufarriḥ al-qulūb,” Perso-Indica. An Analytical Survey of Persian Works on Indian Learned Traditions, edited by F. Speziale and C. W. Ernst, 2018. http://perso-indica.net/work/mufarrih_al-qulub
  • Literary History of Bengal, 8th to 19th Century AD.” In the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Ed. David Ludden. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • “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 19, no. 2 (2015): 341–70. https://muse-jhu-edu.proxy.uchicago.edu/article/604587
  • “Patterns of Composition 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, 423-43. Cambridge: Open Books Publishers, 2015.
  •   “Arākān aur janūb-i mashriqī Bangā la-desh mẽ musulmānõ kī tahdhīb aur zabān .” Translated by Timsal Masud. Maʿārif 194 (2014): 265–88. 

  • “‘Bhāṅgiẏā kahile tāhe āche bahuras’: Madhyayuger kavi Ālāoler anuvād-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, 47-74. 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. https://www.persee.fr/doc/arch_0044-8613_2008_num_76_1_4096
  • “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.

Related links:

Past Bangla related events at U of C: