There has appeared a new trend in recent scholarship on the early modern Islamic world that analyzes the role of gender and sexuality in society and culture. Ruby Lal and Rosalind O'Hanlon have investigated women and gender roles in the sixteenth-century Mughal harem and the broader imperial court respectively. Mehmed Kalpaklı, Walter Andrews, and Khaled El-Rouayheb have studied the nature or the implications of sexual relationship among men in Istanbul as well as the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Kathryn Babayan and Afsaneh Najmabadi have read Safavid and Qajar literature and visual arts through the lens of gender and power politics. Together these scholars have successfully highlighted the relevance of this methodology particularly in its application to the narrative sources that comprise the bulk of our documentations for the period (except for the Ottoman case of course), and it is to subject to such an approach a brief, but crucial, period in early Mughal history and historiography that the present article now proceeds.
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