Faculty News

Professor Sheldon Pollock launches the Murty Classical Library at the Jaipur Literary Festival


January 2015

When Professor Sheldon Pollock, renowned scholar of Sanskrit and Indian literary history at Columbia University, delivered the keynote speech at the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2012, he warned of the loss of classical literature and languages from modern India. “India is on the verge of a potentially cataclysmic cultural ecocide,” he said.

With this in mind, and thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Rohan Murty, Professor Pollock has helped establish the Murty Classical Library of India (Harvard U. Press), which is being launched at this year's festival. The Murty Library is a $5.2 million initiative which aims to translate literary works from Sanskrit Bangla, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Persian, Prakrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and other languages. Professor Pollock hopes that this initiative will provide “something the world has never seen before, and something that India has never seen before: a series of reliable, accessible, accurate and beautiful books that really open up India’s precolonial past”. Some of the first works translated include Bulle Shah's poetry and the Akbarnama, the history of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

For more information:

Recent Faculty Publications

Muhsin al-Musawi

Al-Kamil fi al-lughah al-Arabiyyah wa-adabiha (The Perfect in the Sciences of Arabic Language and Literature) (Dar al-Ilm lil-Malayin, 2014)

“The Republic of Letters: Arab Modernity?” in The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 1.2 (2014): 265-80

“The Republic of Letters: Arab Modernity? Pt. II” in The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, doi: 10.1017/pli.2014.21, Published online by Cambridge UP 12 November 2014

“Gulf Narrative: Literary Evidence for History,” in The Persian Gulf in Modern Times: People, Ports and History (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014).

Gil Anidjar

Blood: A Critique of Christianity (Religion, Culture, and Public Life (Columbia UP, 2014)

Allison Busch

Culture and Circulation: Literature in Motion in Early Modern India, ed. with Thomas de Bruijn (Brill, 2014)

"The Classical Past in the Mughal Present: The Brajbhasha Rīti Tradition,” in Innovations and Turning Points: Toward a History of Kavya Literaure (Oxford UP, 2014)

Mamdou Diouf

The Arts of Citizenship: Infrastructures and Spaces of Belonging, ed. with Rosalind Fredericks (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Sheldon Pollock

Kritische Philologie: Essays zu Literatur, Sprache und Macht in Indien und Europa in the series, “Philologien: Praxis, Geschichte, Theorie,” ed. Christoph Koenig (Wallstein Verlag, 2015)

World Philology, ed. with Benjamin Elman and Kevin Chang (Harvard UP, 2015)

Prof. Muhsin al-Musawi to deliver a talk titled Post-Occupation Iraqi Narrative: ISIS Lexicon and its Counterculture

Isis Lexicon

October 10, 2014

This talk explores ISIS lexicon, syntax, physique, and flowning black robes as part of a deliberately drawn medieval Asian site of hordes, not only to dismantle the last remnants of Arab nation state, and its core in the fertile crescent, but also to image Islam in a conservative orientalist light.The talk situates this within a broader accommodating historical context of conflict, coercion, fracturing of identities and ideologies, and the pilfering of privatized religion. It locates the movement within a strategy to initiate a new Middle East as a playground for global politics. A growing Iraqi narrative shows how the sordid and the macabre transmute into a normative practice that opens the gate for invading hordes.

Prof. Sheldon Pollock receives India Abroad Friend of the Year Award 2013

Book Cover

June 2014

Video of Professor Pollock's speech

Images from the ceremony

Prof. Sheldon Pollock elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Book Cover

June 2014

See this link for a list of all members of the Academy.

Prof. Muhsin al-Musawi publishes Al-Kamil

Book Cover

May 2014

Al-Kamil [Perfect for Advanced Arabic Classes], edited and supervised by Muhsin al-Musawi with a group of the College of Arts Faculty Members, the University of Qatar. ( Beirut: Dar al-Ilm lil-Malayin, 2014, ISBN: First volume: 978614630019-8 Second volume: 978614630018-1).

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Prof. Gil Anidjar publishes Blood


April 2014

Blood, according to Gil Anidjar, maps the singular history of Christianity. As a category for historical analysis, blood can be seen through its literal and metaphorical uses as determining, sometimes even defining Western culture, politics, and social practices and their wide-ranging incarnations in nationalism, capitalism, and law.

Prof. Rashid Khalidi recieves Lionel Trilling Book Award

Columbia Crown

April 21, 2014

The Academic Awards Committee of the Columbia College Student Council has awarded The 39th Lionel Trilling Book Award to Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies and Literature Department of History, for his book Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

Prof. Allison Busch recieves ACLS 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowship

Prof. Allison Busch

March 26, 2014

The American Council of Learned Societies is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowships. The eight teams of scholars that were selected for funding cross boundaries of discipline, methodology, and geography to undertake new research projects that will result in joint publications. The program, which is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to demonstrate the creative potential of collaborative research in the humanities and related social sciences.

“The 2014 ACLS Collaborative Research Fellows put on display the wide range of collaborative projects that scholars pursue in the humanities and related social sciences today,” said ACLS Program Officer Matthew Goldfeder. “The program will support some joint projects that are possible only due to the different specializations each collaborator brings to the project, and others where team members will work to synthesize viewpoints and explanations across disparate fields.”

The diversity of this year’s collaborations includes projects that combine deep expertise in fields such as linguistics, geography, history, literature, and visual studies. That diversity also extends to modes of dissemination, with several of this year’s collaborations foreseeing both print and digital outcomes.

Literature scholar Allison Renée Busch (Associate Professor, Columbia University) and art historian Molly Emma Aitken (Associate Professor, City University of New York, City College) will combine insights from literary and visual depictions of ideal women to shed new light on the overlapping Muslim and Hindu cultural realms in sixteenth- through nineteenth-century India in their co-authored monograph, Aesthetic Worlds of the Indian Heroine.

See the ACLS website for further information about this year’s eight funded projects.