Tanvi Solanki is Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Underwood International College at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Previously, she was the Stanford H. Taylor Postdoctoral Associate at Cornell University, after receiving her PhD at Princeton University and B.A. at the University of Chicago. She has held research positions at Humboldt University, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. She has received fellowships from institutes including the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the DAAD, the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, and the Volkswagen Foundation. She will be a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University’s Clare Hall from 2025-2026. In her research, she employs close analysis of works from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century intellectual history to establish methods and concepts for moving forward contemporary conversations in Sound Studies and the aural turn, and with re-thinking cultural diversity and alternative forms of belonging which are not ocularcentric. These include the concepts and practices of aural cultural diversity, aural racism, cultural acoustics, aural philology, and listening to difference, which emerge from her historical research on the sensory and embodied dimensions of philology, sound studies, and 18th-19th century German intellectual history, literature and media.


At CRASSH, Tanvi Solanki will investigate how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German philologists’ frequently agonistic relation to listening to difference – temporal, racial, linguistic, cultural, geographical – played out in disciplinary formations in the humanities. She will focus on canonical figures such as the Schlegel brothers, J.G. Herder, Max Müller, and Wilhelm von Humboldt, and examine their sources for theorizing difference and cultural diversity through their textually mediated readings and translations of originally oral and aurally mediated works from antiquity. such as works Homer and the Hebrew Bible, and the Sanskrit VedasBhagavada GitaMahabharata, and the Ramayana. She will also research ethnographic travel reports from missionaries, scientists, geographers, envoys and others about the Americas, Asia, Africa, Greece, Italy, and the Near East which comprised their sources.

The second strand of her research at CRASSH will move beyond German philological renderings of the Sanskrit canon to consider how they migrated back into India. Rather than a strictly ocularcentric textual approach to these works, in India, they circulate in a variety of multi-sensory media, including graphic novels, television serials, live performances, movies, and songs. Such a circulation was––and continues to be––a highly effective way of constructing a nationalist political-theology, which has its links to the German Romantics’ reception of Indian works. Although the German Indologist ethos has been widely exposed as the origins of racism in the humanistic disciplines, the lasting influence of Germany’s reception of these works in India remains to be examined, particularly its affective and sensory dimensions. Ultimately, this reception was instrumental in the creation of Indology as a discipline and its ramifications, which marks one of the origins of racism in the humanities.


Journal Articles

  • “German Romanticism, Indology, and its Sensory Repurposing in India” in Special Issue: “Sensing Migrant Romanticism” Comparative Literature (June 2025), eds. Carlos Abreu Mendoza and Tanvi Solanki. Forthcoming in 2025.
  • Introduction to “Sensing Migrant Romanticism,” with Carlos Abreu Mendoza, Comparative Literature (June 2025), eds. Carlos Abreu Mendoza and Tanvi Solanki. Forthcoming in 2025.
  • “Who Sounds most Worthy of Human Rights? Aural Cultural Diversity, the Concept of Humanity, and their Religious Investments in German Language Ideologies” in Special Issue: “Endowed by their Creator: Human Rights and Religion in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries” German Life and Letters (2025)ed. Claudia Nitzschke. Forthcoming in 2025.
  • A Reading of Friedrich Kittler’s Reading of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ‘Der Goldene Topf’ (The Golden Pot) in Aufschreibesysteme1800/1900 (Discourse Networks 1800/1900)” in Special Issue: “Canonical Pressures.” Germanic Review 99.1 (2024): 49-62, eds. Willi Goetschel and Tanvi Solanki.
  • Introduction, “Canonical Pressure: German Literature and its Voices of Difference.” Germanic Review 99.1 (2024): 1-4, eds. Willi Goetschel and Tanvi Solanki
  • Poesis, God, and the Connectedness of all Beings: Herder’s Comparative Method,” Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historique50.1 (2024): 1-21.
  • “Listening to the Cultural Acoustics of Migrant Voices: The Archived Conversations of the BBC and the British Library’s ‘Listening Project,’” European Journal of Cultural Studies 27.1 (2024): 17-35.
  • “Listening to Difference: Herder’s Aural Theory of Cultural Diversity in ‘The Treatise on the Origin of Language’ (1772),” History of European Ideas 48.7 (2022): 930-947.
  • “Mediating the Universal and Particular: Herder’s Tone in Pastoral Performance,” Germanic Review 96.1 (2021): 1-22.
  • “Aural Philology: Herder Hears Homer Singing,”Classical Receptions Journal 12.4 (2020): 401-424.
  • “Cultural Hierarchies and Vital Tones: The Making of Herder’s ‘Mother Tongue’”Special Issue: “The Rise and Fall of Monolingualism.” German Studies Review 41.3 (2018): 551-565, eds. David Gramling and Bethany Wiggin.
  • “Une culture par l’ouïe depuis la chaire,” Special Issue: “L’ouïe dans la pensée européenne au 18c siècle.”Revue Germanique Internationale 27 (2018): 151-162, ed. Clémence Couturier-Heinrich.
  • “A Book of Living Paintings: Tableaux Vivants in Goethe’sDie Wahlverwandtschaften (1809)” in Special Issue: “Goethe and the Visual Arts.” Goethe Yearbook 23 (2016): 245-270.

Edited Special Issues

  • (with Willi Goetschel) Canonical Pressures: German Literature and its Voices of difference, special issue in Germanic Review (2024)
  • (with Carlos Abreu Mendoza) Sensing Migrant Romanticism, special issue in Comparative Literature (2025; In Preparation)

Book Chapters

  • “The Romantic Poet as Aural Philologist: Reconstructing the Multilingual Erotic-Acoustics of the Languages of Nature,” in Literature and Sound Studies, eds. yasser elhariry and Liesl Yamaguchi. Bloomsbury, 2025. Forthcoming.
  • “Colonial Philology and its Erotic Imaginaries: Kalidasa’s Sakuntala in Germany” in Gender and German Colonialism, eds. Elisabeth Krimmer and Chunjie Zhang, 207-225. London: Routledge, 2024.
  • “The Media-Archaeological Ear and its Difference that Goes Unheard,” in Coming to Know, vol. 2 of the series An Archaeology of Listening, eds. Nida Ghouse and Brooke Holmes, 22-39, 67-68. Berlin: Archive Books, 2022.
  • “Rhythmus gegen den Fluss: Herder, die Oralität der Griechen und das ‘Meer der Gelehrsamkeit.'” In Materialitätsdiskurse der Aufklärung. Bilder – Dinge – Praxen, ed. Thomas Bremer, 81-92. Halle: Universitätsverlag Halle-Wittenberg, 2016.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk