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.

Ambrosone, Ellen I am interested in literary and educational practices in nineteenth-century Kerala. My dissertation examines texts such as early novels, literary journals, and grammars to see how literati sought to fashion Malayalam into a modern vernacular language. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which they attempted to persuade readers of the relevance of this project, how each form of text was conducive to it, and how they articulated the possibilities of a newly styled language.

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.

D'Avella, Victor I have a deep interest in, and admiration for, the various systems of grammar that have developed in South Asia; in particular Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī and the commentaries thereon. My research focuses on not only systemic issues within the grammars themselves, but also what role these grammars played in other disciplines such as poetics, commentatorial literature, and philosophy. Along the way I hope to develop teaching materials through which Pāṇinian grammar would be more accessible to students of Sanskrit.

Epperson, Erin I am primarily interested in the study of Sanskrit and Tibetan literature and Buddhism, in particular on Tibetan translation practices and the social history of Tibetan translations of Sanskrit texts. My current research focuses on the Tibetan reception of Sanskrit poetry and poetics through a close examination of the 14th century Tibetan translation of Kālidāsa's Meghadūta (Cloud Messenger) and its subsequent reception in Tibet. I am additionally interested in translation theory, Sanskrit and Tibetan systems of grammar, linguistics and poetics, and in a variety of forms of Sanskrit and Tibetan poetry, literature, and Buddhist treatises.

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

Gurevitch, Eric Eric studies the literary history of South India and the Deccan, particularly the articulation of shastric knowledge systems in literary endeavors after the 10th century. He is also interested in the way these intellectual efforts and social movements were theorized at later moments in Indian historical writing and didactic literature.

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 am interested in philosophical definitions of himsa and ahimsa, sacrifice, karma and guna theory as they were reworked in the early twentieth century by nationalists and caste radicals like Ambedkar. Relatedly I am interested in the Buddhist turn in Ambedkar's thought and his long and sustained engagement with Hindu scripture. I hope to work with material in Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit.

Jones, Jamal

-- Jamal is interested in premodern south Indian literature, especially works composed in classical Telugu and Sanskrit.

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

Khan, Muhammad Taimoor Shah

Lhost, Elizabeth Elizabeth Lhost’s research interests lie at the intersections of law, society, language, and religion. Her dissertation, “Between Community and Qānūn: Documenting Islamic legal practice in 19th-century South Asia,” explores the lives and livelihoods and qazis and muftis in British India. She recently completed twelve months of archival research in India and the United Kingdom and is currently writing up the results of her work.

Lyons, Ashley Ashley focuses on 13th-17th century Gaudiya-Vaishnava and Sufi devotional literature and aesthetic theory, while also developing her interests in the literary history of the Mughal court, Sanskrit grammar and instruction, and contemporary composition theory.

Mikkelson, Jane Jane is a student of Persian, Indo-Persian, and Urdu literature; her interests include poetics and literary theory, Indo-Persian cultural history, Islam and sufism in South Asia, and Islamic intellectual history.

Momin, Wafi Wafi Momin from Pakistan joined the department in the autumn of 2006 to pursue his doctorate. Before joining the department he completed an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His academic interests are in the fields of Islamic studies, Islam in South Asia, Religion and Philosophy.

Morgan, Daniel Jacobius Daniel'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 I am interested in the cultural and literary history of modern India and work on ideas of memory and nostalgia in the late 19th and early 20th century in Bengal. My other interests include book history in South Asia, the Bengal Art School, and poetry.

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.

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

Roychoudhuri, Ranu Interested in South Asian visual culture in general and 19th and 20th century image making practices in Bengal in particular, with emphasis on photography, popular art, social history, popular media and public affect.

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.

Uskokov, Aleksandar I am an historian of Indian philosophy, working primarily in the traditions of Vedanta. Some of my other interests include Vaishnavism, particularly the Visnu and Bhagavata Puranas, the Bhagavad-gita and the tradition that developed around Caitanya, and Hinduism in the context of modernity. My dissertation research is on the history of soteriology in early Advaita Vedanta, focused on the origins of the idea of mahavakya.