Faculty News

Professor Samuel Sudanandha's exegesis of the poem Maduraik Kanchi, authored by Mankudi Maruthanar, is published


March 2015

Maduraik Kanchi, authored by Mankudi Maruthanar, is one of the ten long poems known as Pattuppattu in the Sangam corpus of early Tamil literature. Prof. Samuel Sudanandha's exegesis of the poem, the first of its kind, is meant for the students and common readers, particularly aiming at a direct exposure to the original text rather than the medieval scholarly commentatorial traditions and their modern versions. Sudanandha's work also includes an introduction that guides the reader in understanding the poem and an appendix that essays the relationship between Tamil education and colonial modernity.

Professor Joseph Massad's Islam in Liberalism, authored by Mankudi Maruthanar, is published by the University of Chicago Press


March 2015

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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.

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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.