The 19th episode of Parse is a lecture given by Pegah Shahbaz where she speaks about the extensive cultural and literary contribution of the princesses of the Mughal Empire, a vast Persianate Empire that ruled much of the Indian subcontinent from the 16th century till the mid-19th centuries. Common misconceptions about Mughal princesses are that they lived idle lives in the Zenana, the women’s quarters of the imperial household, but Shahbaz reveals that it was quite the contrary since they yielded immense cultural, artistic, and even political power. Shahbaz describes this phenomenon through the life of Zib al-Nisa, the daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb and an accomplished poet of the Mughal era.
Dr. Shahbaz is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Her area of interest is the systems of knowledge transmission in the Persianate World. She was previously Visiting Associate Professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Visiting Scholar at Leiden University and McGill University, a Grant Researcher at the University of British Columbia, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Sorbonne University. She completed her Ph.D. in Persianate Studies at the University of Strasbourg with a specialization in Persian prose narratives in India.