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Madihah Akhter

Madihah Akhter

Modern South Asia
MA, History,Tufts University, 2012
BA (Hons), History, University of California, Los Angeles, 2009
Dissertation Title: 
In Her Own Right: Sovereignty and Gender in Princely Bhopal, 1901-1926

I am a fifth year PhD candidate specializing in modern South Asian history. I received a Master’s in history from Tufts University and a Bachelor’s in history from UCLA. My MA thesis focused on feminism and the autobiographical genre in Pakistan in feminist poet Kishwar Naheed’s Urdu autobiography, Buri Aurat ki Katha (A Bad Woman's Story)At Stanford, I am also completing a PhD minor in the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies program and am associated with the Abbasi Center for Islamic Studies and the Center for South Asia. My research and teaching interests include modern South Asia, gender, queer and transhistory, and global history. 

My doctoral dissertation, tentatively titled, "In Her Own Right: Sovereignty and Gender in Princely Bhopal, 1901-1926," explores the mutual dependencies and contestations of sovereignty between princely rulers and imperial administrators in the twentieth century. Specifically, I excavate the possibilities of princely sovereignty in Bhopal under the direction of its ruler, Sultan Jahan Begum (r. 1901-1926). Bhopal, located in central India, was the only princely state under female rule in the twentieth century and was the second largest Muslim princely state in India. In this project, I interrogate the conceptual and practical articulations of "in her own right" through gendered space, history writing, anticolonialism, symbolism and succession. My dissertation speaks to varied approaches, specifically political theory on early modern and modern sovereignty in South Asia, feminist analysis of performance and embodied sovereignties, and postcolonial scholarship on anticolonialism and nationalism. 

At Stanford, I have worked as a graduate mentor for the VPGE's Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) program and as a Grduate Reseach and Writing Mentor for the Stanford-CCNY Exchange.