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Lennart Bes receives the ICAS Book Prize 2023, Specialist Publication Accolade

Lennart Bes has received the Specialist Publication Accolade from the ICAS Book Prize 2023 for his work The Heirs of Vijayanagara: Court Politics in Early Modern South India, published at Leiden University Press in 2022. Congratulations to Lennart Bes on this well-deserved recognition!

The ICAS Book Prize (IBP) was established in 2003 by the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS). The IBP is awarded to outstanding publications in the field of Asian Studies. Click here for more information on the award.

About the Book:

This comparative study investigates court politics in four kingdoms that succeeded the south Indian Vijayanagara empire during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: Ikkeri, Tanjavur, Madurai, and Ramnad. Building on a unique combination of unexplored Indian texts and Dutch archival records, this research offers a captivating new analysis of political culture, power relations, and dynastic developments.

In great detail, this monograph provides both new facts and fresh insights that contest existing scholarship. By highlighting their competitive, fluid, and dynamic nature, it undermines the historiography viewing these courts as harmonic, hierarchic, and static. Far from being remote, ritualised figures, we find kings and Brahmins contesting with other courtiers for power. At the same time, by stressing continuities with the past, this study questions recent scholarship that perceives a fundamentally new form of Nayaka kingship. Thus, this research has important repercussions for the way we perceive both these kingdoms and their ‘medieval’ precursors.

About the Author:

Lennart Bes is an Indologist and historian studying political culture in south India. He teaches Asian history, Dutch overseas history, and archival studies at Leiden University. He has published about early modern south Indian kingdoms and Dutch sources on South Asia. He is presently working on the courts of Malabar.

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