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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

The Pillars of Rules: The Writ of Dynasties and Nation-Statesin the Middle East and South Asia

International Conference, January 31 – Februay 1, 2019


Max Weber famously argued that states lay claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence over certain circumscribed territories. However, historical and anthropological research has challenged his ideal-typical vision by showing how the idea of the unitary state is a fiction that can only be produced through the action of interrelated but partly autonomous agents. States, and the various institutions that constitute them, face the strategic task of identifying and domesticating the social networks that are necessary for them to secure control over particular territories and their populations. Local strongmen and notables can in turn use their own local influence in order to gain recognition from higher-level, more powerful, state institutions. In this international conference, scholars from a variety of disciplines will explore the ways in which dynastic power and/or the rule of the state is asserted, negotiated and contested across both the Middle East and South Asia.


 Dr. Daniele Cantini (University of Zurich)

Prof. Dr. Bettina Dennerlein (University of Zurich)

Thiruni Kelegama (University of Zrich)

Prof. Dr. Aymon Kreil (Ghent University)

Prof. Dr. Nicolas Martin (University of Zurich)


Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Indian Studies


University of Zurich, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, RAA G 01, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich


January 31 - February 01, 2019; 9 am - 7 pm

Weiterführende Informationen


Pillars of Rule:


Preliminary Program

Pillars of Rule

Abul Fazl Presenting Akbarnama