Professor Daud Ali
Daud Ali was born in Calcutta, son of a Bengali father and an American mother, and since his early youth has had an abiding interest in all things Indian. He received his B.A. at the College of William in Mary in Religious Studies and English Literature, an M.A. at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago in History of Religions, and his Ph.D. in History at the University of Chicago. His thesis was on medieval South Indian history. He taught South Asian History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London for fourteen years before joining the staff of the University of Pennsylvania as the Graduate Chair of the Department of South Asia Studies. Dr. Ali is a specialist in the history and culture of pre-Sultanate South Asia, and is the author of Querying the Medieval: The History of Practice in South Asia and Courtly Culture and Political Life in Early Medieval India, the first book-length study to focus exclusively on the development of the royal court as a social and cultural institution in early India. He has published on a wide variety of subjects, from courtier merchants in medieval South India to service retinues of the Chola kings, and Buddhist monasticism to gardens in ancient India. His current research projects concern, among other things, the history of King Bhoja in medieval India. Professor Ali reads Sanskrit, and speaks and reads Tamil, an important language of southern India.