Sanskrit Life-Worlds: Antiquity to Early Modernity

11 May 2010, 10:00 - 18:30

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge


A colloquium with Professor Sheldon Pollock (William B Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, University of Columbia, US)

Please click on the link at the right hand side of the page to see a provisional programme and book online.  There is a flat rate fee of £5 for attendance which includes lunch.


Dr Shruti Kapila (Faculty of History, University of Cambridge)


The study of Sanskrit has been dominated by philology on the one hand and ancient history on the other. For the former it served as a dead language that might offer clues to the Indo-European past, and for the latter a source of information about a vanished civilization. In both cases the language was often seen to have become the preserve primarily of experts outside India. This colloquium brings together scholars working with Sanskrit materials to discuss ways in which the language and its rich textual heritage has continued to enjoy a life into our own times. While it might not be a "living" language in any conventional sense, Sanskrit plays an important role in a whole range of cultural practices, political references and as part of a national imaginary. Can this "afterlife" become a field of study in its own right, providing as it does the context even for textual production in Sanskrit for the past two centuries?

Professor Sheldon Pollock will also be giving a lecture at CRASSH from 5-7pm on Thursday 13 May.  This is free to attend but  registration is required.  Please see Related Links at the right hand side of the page for information.

For all administrative enquiries please contact Michelle Maciejewska

Tuesday 11 May



Registration and coffee

10.30- 10.45

Welcome and Introduction
Dr Faisal Devji (University of Oxford)


Roundtable Discussion: The Work of Philology and its Future

Professor Alexis Sanderson (University of Oxford)
Dr Vincenzo Vergiani (FAMES, University of Cambridge)
Dr Whitney Cox (SOAS)

Dr Eivind Kahrs (FAMES, University of Cambridge)




Roundtable Discussion: Social Life of Sanskrit and Early Modernity

Professor Rosalind O'Hanlon (University of Oxford)
Dr David Washbrook (University of Cambridge)
Dr Norbert Peabody (University of Cambridge)
Dr Aparna Kapadia (University of Oxford)

Dr Faisal Devji (University of Oxford)


Tea  Break


Question and Answer Session with Professor Sheldon Pollock  (William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Columbia University, US)


Reception at CRASSH