Whitney Cox is an Associate Professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College. His principal interest lies in Sanskrit language and literature, coupled with long-term investment in premodern Tamil, and in the cultural, political, and social history of far southern India. His recent research has touched on a wide spectrum of issues, including the political history of the major imperial dynasty of the medieval Tamil country; the centuries-long connections between the southern reaches of the subcontinent and the valley of Kashmir in the northwest; the transformations of late-medieval textual scholarship; Sanskrit and Tamil literary theory; modes of premodern historical writing in Sanskrit; and the pan-Indic traditions of the tantric worship of the Hindu deity Shiva.
Cox took his BA at the University of Virginia (History/Religious Studies, 1996); his graduate work at Chicago led to a PhD in 2006. After two years working at the University of Pennsylvania, he took up a position at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), part of the University of London, where he worked from 2006 until 2013. Since 2011 he has been a member of the Berlin-based Working Group Zukunftsphilologie. He has previously held awards from Fulbright-Hayes, the British Academy, and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.
- Ph.D. Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago, 2006
- B.A. (History and Religious Studies, with honors), University of Virginia, 1996
Sanskrit and Tamil philology; premodern literary theory; history of medieval South India; history of Śaivism.
Articles and Contributions to Edited Volumes
- “From source-criticism to intellectual history in the poetics of the medieval Tamil country.” In Whitney Cox and Vincenzo Vergiani, eds Bilingual Discourse and Cross-cultural Fertilisation: Sanskrit and Tamil in Medieval India. Collection Indologie no. 121. Pondicherry: Institut Français de Pondichéry/École Française d’Extrême-Orient, 2013.
- “Literary Register and Historical Consciousness in Kalhaṇa: A Hypothesis.” In Whitney Cox, ed. “Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī and its Inheritors.” Special issue of the Indian Economic and Social History Review, 50 (2), 2013.
- “Bhoja’s Alternate Universe” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22 (1), 2012.
- “Saffron in the Rasam.” In Yigal Bronner, Whitney Cox and Lawrence McCrea, eds, South Asian Texts in History: Critical Engagements With Sheldon Pollock Asia Past and Present no. 7. Ann Arbor: Association of Asian Studies, 2011.
- “Law, Literature, and the Problem of Politics in Medieval India.” In Donald Davis, Timothy Lubin, and Jayanth Krishnan, eds. Law and Hinduism: An Introduction, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- “Sharing a single seat: the poetics and politics of male intimacy in Bilhaṇa’s Vikramāṅkakāvya” Journal of Indian Philosophy, 38 (5), 2010.
- “Scribe and Script in the Cālukya West Deccan.” Indian Economic and Social History Review, 47 (1), 2010.
- “The Transfiguration of Tiṇṇaṉ the Archer” Indo-Iranian Journal, 48 (3-4), 2005.
Work in Progress
- Moonset on Sunrise Mountain: Politics, Poetry, and the Making of a South Indian King (current book project; to be submitted late 2013.).
- Modes of Philology in Late-Medieval South India.To appear in the Philological Encounters series, Zukunftsphilologie Project, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.