Phillip Wagoner, professor of art history and chair of the archaeology program, spoke on “Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600,” at Penn State University Park campus April 5.
Wagoner discussed his upcoming book of the same title, which focuses on the cultural history of the Deccan region of South India (1200-1600), primarily in the historical interactions between the region’s established Indic culture and the Persianate culture that arrived in the early 14th century.
Since 1987, Wagoner has been associated with the Vijayanagara Research Project, an international team of scholars in different disciplines dedicated to documentation and interpretation of the site of Vijayanagara, capital of the state that dominated the southern part of the Indian peninsula between the 1340s and 1565. This work has led to the publication of two books: Tidings of the King: A Translation and Ethnohistorical Analysis of the Rayavacakamu (University of Hawai’i Press,1993); and Vijayanagara: Architectural Inventory of the Sacred Centre, New Delhi (American Institute of Indian Studies and Manohar, 2001). Since 2000, his work has increasingly focused on Persianate Islamic architecture in the Deccan, ranging from the first appearance of Sultanate-style architecture in the region in the early 14th century, to the founding and design of Hyderabad, laid out as a new capital by the Qutb Shahi sultans in the late 16th century.