Wesleyan portrait of Phillip B. Wagoner

Phillip B. Wagoner

Professor of Art History

41 Wyllys Avenue, 311

Chair, Art and Art History

Professor, Archaeology



BA Kenyon College
PHD University of Wisconsin at Madison

Phillip B. Wagoner

Phillip B. Wagoner's research focuses on the cultural history of the Deccan region of South India, primarily in the late medieval and early modern periods (1200-1600). His primary interest is in the historical interactions between the region's established Indic culture and the Persianate culture that arrived when the Delhi Sultanate annexed the region in the early fourteenth century. To study the dynamics of this process, he relies on a broad range of literary, epigraphic, architectural, and archaeological evidence, gathered over the course of numerous trips to the field since the early 1980s. Since 1987, he 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; one on late sixteenth-century understandings of Vijayanagara based on a Telugu historiographic text written in the region some 35 years after the collapse of the state (Tidings of the King: a Translation and Ethnohistorical Analysis of the Rayavacakamu, University of Hawai'i Press, 1993), and the other a 3-volume work presenting comprehensive architectural documentation of the over 400 temples and other structures preserved in one key zone of the site (co-authored with George Michell,Vijayanagara: Architectural Inventory of the Sacred Centre, New Delhi: American Institute of Indian Studies and Manohar, 2001). He has also published numerous articles on various topics relating to Vijayanagara, including the pre-Vijayanagara history of the site, the reuse of architectural components retrieved from earlier buildings, the system of elite dress at the Vijayanagara court, the ability of political elites to move between the Indic and Persianate worlds, and the significance of Sanskrit historiographic traditions that represent Vijayanagara as a successor state to the Delhi Sultanate. Since 2000, his work has increasingly focused on Persianate Islamic architecture in the Deccan, and his articles have dealt with topics ranging from the first appearance of Sultanate style architecture in the region in the early fourteenth century, to the founding and design of Hyderabad, laid out as a new capital by the Qutb Shahi sultans in the late 16th century. He has recently completed a book, co-authored with historian Richard M. Eaton, titled Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India's Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600 (New Delhi: Oxford, 2014).

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Fall 2018: Thursdays, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., other days and times available by appointment, Boger Hall room 311


Fall 2019
ARHA 181F - 01
Mughal India (FYS)