Medieval Indian literary and linguistic history (800 -- 1800 CE)
I was drawn to the languages, literatures and cultures of South Asia in college, when I studied for a year in India at the Maharaja Sayajirao University. I lived in a Rajasthani village for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, and later specialized in the classical and medieval languages, Sanskrit, Prakrit and Apabhramsa in graduate school. In addition to my research and teaching activities, I have administered South Asia centers at several universities, as well as directed a research library for a couple of years in Hyderabad, India as a Fulbright.
My intellectual interests lie primarily in the medieval, transitional languages and literatures of north India, such as Apabhramsa, early Hindavi and Awadhi. Through such literatures one can trace the cultural continuities within South Asian civilization as it undergoes changes in response to the arrival of Islamicate cultures. I have developed an interest and specialization in Jainism through my work in Prakrit and Apabhramsa, and in early South Asian Sufism through a study of its literature, and developing material for syllabi on the role of Islam in South Asian civilization. I am keenly interested in the development of Indian cinema, particularly in the post Independence period – how it manifests political and cultural change.
- Translations of poetry and prose in The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature , Volume One: Poetry and Prose Miscellany, Volume Two:Fiction , Mehr Afshan Farooqi (ed), Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007
- Essays on Jaina Art: Ananda K. Coomaraswamy . An edition of Ananda Coomaraswamy’s writings on Jaina art, with critical introduction. New Delhi: Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts, 2003
- “W. Norman Brown,” in South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia , Margaret Mills, Peter Claus, Sarah Diamond, eds., New York: Routledge, 2002, p.79
- The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts , in collaboration with Joseph M. Dye, Richmond and London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2001. My contribution involved the editing, translating and interpretation of inscribed sculptures and paintings for the catalogue.
- "The Apabhramsa Cariu as Courtly Poem," in Studies in Early Modern Indo-Aryan Languages, Literature, and Culture , Entwhistle and Salomon (eds), New Delhi: Manohar, 1999, p.101-114
- “Notes on the Etymology of Lila” in Vidyopaasanaa: Studies in Honour of Harivallabh C. Bhayani, Bharati Modi and Purushottam J. Mistry (eds), Mumbai: Image Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1999, p. 37-60
Title VI Coordinator, Asia Institute (2008 - ), University of Virginia, Associate Director, Asian Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh (2002 - 2007), Executive Director, Indo-American Centre for International Studies, Hyderabad, India (1999 - 2001), Associate Director, South Asia Center, University of Pennsylvania (1987 - 1999)
- Islam in South Asia
- Bollywood Dreams: A Survey of Indian Cinema
- Introduction to South Asian Civilizations
- Classics of Indian Literature in Translation (1200 BCE - 1950 CE)
- The Vernacular Millenium: Indian Medieval Literary Classics in Translation
- Crossing Borders: Middle East & South Asia
- The World According to South Asia