Current Students

In addition to the following list of current students in the department, see the information on an annual conference at the University of Chicago organized and run by graduate students involved in South Asian studies, and the list of recent dissertations successfully defended in the department.

Acosta, Eduardo My research interests lie in the interface between regional cultures and cosmopolitan values and in processes of cultural translation in medieval South Asia. I intend to focus on processes of community formation and configuration of composite notions of authority during the Sultanate period in Bengal. I am currently studying Sanskrit and Bangla.

Ariav, Talia I hope to dive into Nayaka period Madurai through the eyes of some of its major poetic enterprises. I am interested in intertextual and interlingual connections between different textual genres in Sanskrit and Tamil, as well as visual images, that share time and space. Specifically, I hope to focus on Nīla Kaṇṭha Dīksita's poetic and outer-poetic realms.

Bhattacharyya, Abhishek I am interested in studying the cultural and political consequences of ‘Naxalite’ translations of Marxisms in India from the late 1960s through the 80s, as also their exchanges with, and overlaps and divergences from different socio-political movements during this period. My general interests lie in critical theory, and in questions of cultural translation and knowledge production.Bangla, Hindi and Telugu are the languages I am looking to work with.

Brill, Josephine Jo is fascinated by the metalinguistic techniques developed by South Asian grammarians to describe language. She wants to know much more about vyākaraṇa and the transmission of grammatical literature, and hopes in the process to learn why and how certain topics in the tradition are hotly argued.

Chakrabarti, Ishan Ishan works primarily on Bengali and Sanskrit literature from roughly 1400-1700 CE. He focuses on biography and drama. He also reads Braj, Avadhi, Hindi, Urdu and some Classical Greek and Arabic.

DAsgupta, supurna

sdasgupta@uchicago.eduMy interest lies in the crossroads between literary criticism and literary historiography. I am fascinated by the way in which books determine the course of social and cultural history. I want to work with the aesthetic and the political components of book publishing in the progressive circles of mid-20th century Bengal.

Graves, Jazmin Jazmin Graves is a student of Hindi, Persian, and premodern Indian Sufi literature.

Gurevitch, Eric Eric Gurevitch is a PhD student in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and in the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. His research is on natural history and philosophic empiricism in premodern southwest India, focusing on texts written in Kannada and Sanskrit.

Halladay, Andrew Andrew’s research centers around the literary landscapes and print culture of late-colonial India. More specifically, his work aims to engage how the production and dissemination of texts in Urdu, Persian, Hindi, and Sanskrit enabled Indian activists and intellectuals to revisit and reforge the past in order to address sociopolitical concerns of the present.

Hanlon, Julie I am an archaeologist pursuing a joint degree in Anthropology and SALC. My research examines the socio-economic interactions between the Jain monastic communities and early polities of Tamil Nadu and Kerala during the Early Historic Period (c. 500 BCE - 500 CE). This research utilizes spatial and statistical analysis of archaeo-historical materials, ancient sites, and monuments, as well as textual analysis of classical Tamil literature and inscriptions.

Hawley, Nell My leading interests belong to the Sanskrit epics and their many re-tellings in Sanskrit drama and poetry. I am also acutely curious about the place of the Mahābhārata, the Rāmāyaṇa, and their kāvya offshoots in works of Sanskrit poetics. I hope that future language study in Malayalam, Persian, and Hindi will broaden the scope of my inquiries into these topics (and introduce me to many more!).

Jayanth, Malarvizhi I study the history of slavery, abolition and lower-caste political mobilization in nineteenth-century south India and work with material in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu.

John, Joya I look at literary and cultural texts in postcolonial India as responses to modernity, modernization and development, specifically in relation to environmental and ecological discourses..

Kalb, Emma Emma is a student of Mughal history, and the Persian and Urdu languages.

Khan, Muhammad Taimoor Shah

Kotler, ayelet Ayelet Kotler's research focuses on Indo-Persian literature.  She is mainly interested in the Mughal translation movement, and specifically its literary and philological motivation.  Ayelet hopes to better understand the nature of the cultural relations between Sanskrit and Persian literati in the court, while working on translation discourses and practices in premodern South Asia.

Mikkelson, Jane

jmikkelson@uchicago.eduJane is a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, completing a joint degree in the departments of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Her research interests include early modern Persian literature, Islamic thought, the creative convergences between Indic and Islamic ideas in premodern South Asia, religion and literature, poetry and poetics, comparative literature, and theories of the lyric. Jane’s dissertation, “Worlds of the Imagination: Bīdel, Ḥazīn, and Early Modern Persian Lyric Style,” studies the entanglements between imagination, Persian lyric poetry, and Islamic thought in early modern India and Iran. Lyric at this time was a premier genre for rigorous thinking on complex topics typically seen as falling within the scope of disciplines like philosophy and theology (the capacities and limitations of the human soul; the nature of time; epistemology; practices of the self). Arguing for the fundamental inseparability of doctrine and lyric style, Jane’s dissertation shows how the lyric thought of Bīdel of Delhi (d.1721) and Ḥazīn of Esfahan (d.1766) accomodates reflection on both the abstract propositional content and the subjective experience of Islamic ideas. Jane's work is supported by a Provost's Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2018-2019), and she is defending this year.

MOrgan, daniel jacobius Daniel Morgan's work explores the interconnections between Shariah-minded legalism and Sufi mysticism in 19th-century North India.

newbold, thomas Thomas Newbold is a student of Persian and Bengali hoping to explore historiographical practices in Bengal between the early modern period and the colonial period.  He is also more generally interested in the history of early modern Eastern India and in that of the early Company state.

Panda, ahona Ahona is interested in the many intellectual genealogies of philology, histories of political movements, intersections of poetry, aesthetics and politics, censorship in South Asia, and non-Western feminisms.  Her dissertation traces an intellectual history of philology in Bengal from the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries, and examines the political relationship between Hindus and Muslims through the language question.  Her languages of study include Bengali, Sanskrit, Hindi, and Urdu.

POddar, sanjukta Sanjukta is interested in the intellectual histories of cities in India, particularly of Delhi and Calcutta, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  In order to reach a broad-based understanding of the urban, she hopes to explore a wide range of texts in Urdu, Hindi, Bangla, and English.

Ramot, itamar Itamar is interested in the manners by which medieval Jain scholars have engaged in mediating complex Jain teachings and ethical imperatives through literary works, and in the ways by which these endeavors served for the establishment of a communal identity vis-a-vis other traditions.

Reddy, Gautham Gautham Reddy is interested in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Telugu literature.

Sastry, Sharvari My research is focused mainly on modern theater, and I am interested in studying the relationship between print, performance and nationalism with reference to theater journals/magazines in post-Independence India (1950s - 1980s). Apart from English, I hope to work with sources in Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati.

Trento, Margherita I am interested in the history of Catholicism in South India in the 17th and 18th centuries. In my research, I hope to explore the mechanisms of cultural and literary translation involved in the processes of evangelization by missionaries (mainly Jesuits), as well as the indigenous responses and appropriation of Christianity in those centuries. More generally, I am interested in the history of conversion, translation, and devotional texts and practices in pre-colonial South India. I aim at working with sources in Sanskrit and Tamil.