Tamara Sears is a specialist on the art and architectural history of South Asia with particular interests in the relationships between political power, religion, and the production of sacred architecture in ancient and medieval India. Her research focuses on the relationship between ritual and architecture, asceticism and worldly power, and iconology and religious experience. In addition, she has written on the continuity and reuse of Hindu temple and monastery sites during the Islamic period, and she has explored secondary interests in the role that archaeology and the writing of art history have played in the construction of knowledge in the colonial and postcolonial worlds. Her first book, Worldly Gurus and Spiritual Kings: Architecture and Asceticism in Early Medieval India (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014), examines the connections between the emergence of the Hindu monastery as a new architectural type, the regionalization and localization of royal power, and the institutionalization of new forms of ritual practice from the eighth through twelfth centuries. She has begun a new project that looks at architecture as an archive for mapping mobility, cultural authority, and the spread of religious knowledge and courtly culture around the turn of the first millennium.

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