Sheldon Pollock is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies. From 2005-2011 he served as the William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Columbia, and before that as the George V. Bobrinskoy Distinguished Service Professor of Sanskrit and Indic Studies at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1989-2005. He was educated at Harvard University, receiving his undergraduate degree in Classics (Greek) magna cum laude in 1971 before earning a Masters (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) in Sanskrit and Indian Studies. His areas of specialization are Sanskrit philology, Indian intellectual and literary history, and, increasingly, comparative intellectual history.
Pollock is General Editor of the Murty Classical Library of India (Harvard U. Press). He was Associate and then General Editor of the Clay Sanskrit Library, for which he also edited and translated a number of volumes, and joint editor of “South Asia across the Disciplines,” a collaborative venture of the University of California Press, University of Chicago Press, and Columbia University Press. He directed the international collaborative research project “Sanskrit Knowledge Systems on the Eve of Colonialism.” He is currently principal investigator of “SARIT: Enriching Digital Collections in Indology,” supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Bilateral Digital Humanities Program.
His publications include The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India (2006), which won the Coomaraswamy Prize from the Association of Asian Studies as well as the Lionel Trilling Award, and most recently Kritische Philologie: Essays zu Literatur, Sprache und Macht in Indien und Europa (2015). Among his edited volumes are Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia (2003), Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia(2011), and (with Benjamin Elman and Kevin Chang) World Philology (2015). Reader on Rasa: Classical Indian Aesthetics, the first in a new series of historical sourcebooks on classical Indian thought he is editing for Columbia University Press, will be published in 2015.
In 2008, Pollock’s students arranged a conference in his honor entitled Language, Culture and Power. In the same year, he received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for significant contributions to humanistic inquiry. In 2009, he received the President’s Award for Sanskrit, and in 2010, the Padma Shri award, both from the Government of India. In 2014 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Recent and forthcoming publications:
Ed. and trans. The Three Hundreds of Bhartrihari and The Hundred of Amaru. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press. Murty Classical Library of India.
Crit. Ed. and trans. Śṛṅgāratilaka of Rudra Bhaṭṭa.
Ed. The Rasataraṅgiṇī of Drāviḍa Gopāla Bhaṭṭa (commentary on the Śṛṅgāratilaka of Rudra Bhaṭṭa).
“What Should a Classical Library of India Be?” Geschichte der Germanistik: Historische Zeitschrift für die Philologien 53/54 (2018): 6-21(download)
“Small Philology and Large Philology.” Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Vol. 38.1 (2018): 122-127. (download)
“Kitabkhana,” Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Vol. 38.1 (2018). (download)
Ed. With Benjamin Elman, What China and India Once Were: The Pasts That May Shape the Global Future. Columbia U. Press (fall, 2018).(publisher’s site)
“Conundrums of Comparison,” KNOW 1,2 (2017) (download)
“The Columbia Global Humanities Project.” Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Vol. 37.1 (2017). (publisher’s site)
A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics. New York: Columbia U. Press, 2016. (publisher’s site)
Philologie und Freiheit. Trans. R. Meyer-Kalkus. Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2016 (in the series “Fröhliche Wissenschaft”). (publisher’s site)
“Areas, Disciplines, and the Goals of Inquiry.” Journal of Asian Studies 75,4 (2016): 913-928. (download)
“Philology and Freedom.” Philological Encounters vol. 1,1 (2016): 4-30. (download)
“Philologia Rediviva?” American Academy of Arts and Sciences Bulletin 68, 4 (Summer 2015): 34-36. (download)
“The Alternative Classicism of Classical India.” Seminar 671 (2015). (download)
“Liberating Philology.” Verge v. 1,1 (2014): 16-21. (download)
“Rice and Ragi: Remembering URA.” Seminar 666 (2015): 16-20. (download)
In collaboration with U. R. Ananthamurthy, “State of Nature (Prakriti),” translated from the Kannada. Seminar 666 (2015): 77-82. (download)
Kritische Philologie: Essays zu Literatur, Sprache und Macht in Indien und Europa. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag (in the series, “Philologien: Praxis, Geschichte, Theorie,” ed. Christoph Koenig), 2015.
Ed., with Benjamin Elman and Kevin Chang, World Philology, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U. Press, 2015. (publisher’s site)
“What was Philology in Sanskrit?” In World Philology, ed. Pollock et al. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U. Press), 2015: 114-141.
“Introduction.” In World Philology, ed. Pollock et al. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U. Press), 2015: 1-24.
“Philology in Three Dimensions.” postmedieval v. 5.4 (2014): 398-413. (download)
“Kritische Philologie.” In Geschichte der Germanistik 45-46 (2014): 5-12. (download)
“What is South Asian Knowledge Good for?” South Asia Institute Papers / Beiträge des Südasianinstituts 1: 2014. (download)
“Praśasti: A Small Note on a Big Topic.” In Rajamahima: C. Rajendran Congratulatory Volume, ed. N. K. Sundareswaran. Calicut: U. of Calicut Press, 2013, pp. 21-39. Calicut University Sanskrit series No. 51. (download)
“From Rasa Seen to Rasa Heard.” In Aux bords de la clairière, ed. Caterina Guenzi and Sylvia d’Intino. Paris: Brepols, 2012, pp. 189-207. Collections érudites de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études. (download)
“Epicycles of Cathay.” Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Ancient and Medieval Pasts, 2 (2012): 68-75. (download)
“Sanskrit Studies in the US.” in Sixty Years of Sanskrit Studies, vol.2: Other Countries,ed. R. Tripathi. New Delhi: DK Printworld, 2011, pp.259-310. (download)
“Vyakti and the History of Rasa.” Vimarsha, Journal of the Rasthriya Sanskrit Sansthan (World Sanskrit Conference Special Issue), 6 (2012): 232-253. (download)
Ed. Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia: Explorations in the Intellectual History of India and Tibet,1500-1800 (Duke U. Press, 2011).(publisher’s site)
“Introduction.” In Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia: Explorations in the Intellectual History of India and Tibet, 1500-1800 (Duke U. Press, 2011), pp. 1-16 (download)
“The Languages of Science in Early-Modern India.” In Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia, pp. 19-48 (download)
“Comparison without Hegemony.” In The Benefit of Broad Horizons: Intellectual and Institutional Preconditions for a Global Social Science. Festschrift for Bjorn Wittrock on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, ed. Barbro Klein and Hans Joas. Leiden: Brill, pp. 185-204. (download)
“What was Bhatta Nayaka Saying? The Hermeneutical Transformation of Indian Aesthetics.” In Sheldon Pollock, ed. Epic and Argument in Sanskrit Literary History: Essays in Honor of Robert P. Goldman. Delhi: Manohar, 2010, pp. 143-184. (download)
“Future Philology? The Fate of a Soft Science in a Hard World.” In James Chandler and Arnold Davidson, eds. The Fate of the Disciplines. Special number, Critical Inquiryvolume 35, number 4 (Summer 2009): 931-61. (download)
“The Real Classical Languages Debate.” The Hindu, 27 November 2008. (download)
The Bouquet of Rasa and the River of Rasa (Rasamanjari and Rasatarangini) of Bhanudatta. Edited, translated, and annotated, with an Introduction. New York: New York University Press. The Clay Sanskrit Library, 2009, 398 pp. (download introduction)
“Is there an Indian Intellectual History?” Journal of Indian Philosophy 36, 5-6 (2008): 533-542. (download)
“Towards a Political Philology: D. D. Kosambi and Sanskrit.” Economic and Political Weekly (D. D. Kosambi Centenary Volume), July 26, 2008: 52-59. (download)
Rama’s Last Act (Uttararamacarita) of Bhavabhuti. Edited, translated, and annotated, with an Introduction; forward by Girish Karnad. New York: New York University Press. The Clay Sanskrit Library, 2007, 451 pp. (download Introduction)
“Pretextures of Time.” History and Theory 46 (October 2007): 364-381. (download)
“Literary Culture and Manuscript Culture in Precolonial India.” In Simon Eliot, Andrew Nash, Ian Willison, eds. History of the Book and Literary Cultures. London: British Library, 2006, pp. 77-94. (download)
“Empire and Imitation.” In Craig Calhoun, Frederick Cooper, and Kevin Moore, eds. Lessons of Empire. New York: New Press, 2006, pp. 175-188. (download)
“Ratnasrijnana.” In R. K. Sharma, ed. Encyclopedia of Indian Wisdom: Dr. Satya Vrat Shastri Felicitation Volume. Delhi: Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan, 2005, pp. 637-43. (download)
The Ends of Man at the End of Premodernity. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005. (download)
Visvatmaka Desabhase [The Cosmopolitan Vernacular], tr. Akshara K.V.Heggodu (Karnataka): Akshara Prakashana, 2003, D.R. Nagaraj Nenapina Akshara Chintana Maale. (A collection of essays on Kannada literary culture in Kannada translation, with a new introduction)
A New Philology: From Norm-bound Practice to Practice-bound Norm in Kannada Intellectual History. In South-Indian Horizons: Felicitation Volume for François Gros,ed. Jean-Luc Chevillard. Pondicherry: Institut français de Pondichéry/École française d’extrême-orient, 2004, pp. 389-406. (download)
Ed. Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. Berkeley: U. of California Press, 2003. (publisher’s site)
“Introduction.” In Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. pp. 1-36. (download introduction)
“Sanskrit Literary Culture from the Inside Out.” In Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. pp. 39-130. (download)
Ed., with Carol Breckenridge, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Homi Bhabha. Cosmopolitanism. Durham: Duke U. Press, 2002.