SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Vivek Gupta

MA MPhil (Columbia), BA (Washington)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Email address:
Thesis title:
Wonder Reoriented: Manuscripts and Experience in Islamicate Societies of South Asia (ca. 1450--1600)
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Vivek Gupta is a historian of Islamic and South Asian art, literature and aesthetics. His doctoral thesis, “Wonder Reoriented: Manuscripts and Experience in Islamicate Societies of South Asia (ca. 1450–1600),” will be submitted AY 2019-2020 in History of Art and Archaeology. His thesis offers the first full-length study of how the genre of the Islamicate cosmography transformed in South Asia through an analysis of roughly 50 illustrated manuscripts.

His current research considers word and image, transculturation, Arabic in South Asia, and the relationship between contemporary and premodern practices. His active languages are Persian, Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu. His research has been supported by the Smithsonian Institution (Freer|Sackler Galleries), the Social Sciences Research Council, the Kamran Djam Fellowship for Iranian Studies, the Saraswati Dalmia Fellowship for Indian Art, and the Santander Mobility Award.

He has contributed to a number of exhibitions and served in curatorial capacities globally. Recently, he was Assistant Curator/Fellow for Islamic and South Asian Coins (2016-2017) at the American Numismatic Society in New York.

Vivek earned a BA in Arabic and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and an MA and MPhil at Columbia University in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies and Comparative Literature.


  • Gupta, Vivek. “Interpreting the Eye (‘ain): Poetry and Painting in the Shrine of Ahmad Shāh al-Walī al-Bahmanī (r. 1422—1436).” Archives of Asian Art, 67, no. 2 (2017): 189-208.
  • Gupta, Vivek. “Review of Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century India: Poetry and Paintings from Kishangarh by Heidi Pauwels.”, November 29, 2017.
  • Gupta, Vivek. 2018. “Ghulām ‘Alī “Āzād” Bilgrāmī,” and “ ‘Abd al-Qādir Badā'ūnī,” in Encyclopedia of Indian Religions, Arvind Sharma ed.
  • Gupta, Vivek. forthcoming. “Splendour of the City: Textile Culture of Mughal Burhanpur,” in The Art and Culture of Mughal India, New Studies, Roda Ahluwalia ed.
  • Gupta, Vivek. forthcoming. "Articulations of the Illustrated Manuscript: Shahzia Sikander’s Disruption as Rapture (2017),” in Intersections: Visual Cultures of Islamic Cosmopolitanism, Melia Belli and Saleema Waraich eds.


  • Invited lecture, “Imagining Wonders: Archaism and Innovation in Sixteenth-Century Manuscript Culture of the Deccan,” Shiv Nadar University, Noida, India (February 28, 2019).
  • Invited lecture, “An Aesthetic Education in Sultanate India: Sound and Wonder in the Key of the Learned of Shadiyabadi,” Jawaharlal Nehru University, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Delhi, India (December 7, 2018).
  • Conference presentation, “Reorienting Wonder: Material Traces of Arabic in South Asia and the Wonders of Crafts (Mandu, ca. 1509),” Arabic in South Asia: A language in/of the margins?, ECSAS, Paris, France (July 25, 2018).
  • Invited symposium presentation: “Historicizing Shahzia Sikander’s Disruption as Rapture.” Intersections: Visual Cultures of Islamic Cosmopolitanism, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (May 5, 2018).
  • Curated objects viewing and presentation: “Strategies of Vernacular Inscription on Rajput Painting,” American Council for South Asian Art Symposium, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA (October 13, 2017).


  • American Council for South Asian Art (ACSAA)
  • Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA)
  • European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS)
  • American Numismatic Society, Editorial Board of Afkar


  • American Numismatic Society Summer Seminar, 2017, Advisor and lecturer for Islamic and South Asian Numismatics
  • Jnanapravaha Mumbai, January 2017, Lecturer on Islamic Aesthetics
  • Columbia University Teaching Fellow, 2014-2016, Hindi-Urdu Language


  • Islamic Art and Architecture
  • South Asian Art and Architecture
  • Indian Ocean Studies
  • Global Art, Literary Studies
  • History of Science and Art
  • Numismatics
  • Codicology
  • Epigraphy
  • Arabic Literature
  • Vernacular Literature


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