Assistant Professor of Indian and South Asian Art and Architecture, Yale University
Subhashini Kaligotla is an art historian of ancient and medieval South Asia. Her research focuses on the many dimensions of sacred architecture—Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain—from the creative resources of its makers to the multisensorial experience of its receivers as well as its intellectual history. Her forthcoming book, Shiva’s Waterfront Temples (Yale, 2022), examines constructions of personhood and space in medieval Deccan India from the perspective of a range of makers. A second book project, provisionally titled Seeing Ghosts, is interested in the iconographies of death and the afterlife in early Indian Ocean realms.
Permanent Senior Research Fellow, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (Max Planck Society)
Hannah Baader is Academic Program Director of the research unit Transregional Art Histories at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, in cooperation with the Berlin State Museums and the Forum Transregional Studies in Berlin. Together with Kavita Singh, she developed the Max-Planck Partner Group The Temple and the Museum at JNU, Delhi. Her research is cross-regional and interdisciplinary in nature. Forthcoming publications include the monograph The Iconology of the Sea in Early Modern Italy and the volume Art and Ecology, edited with Sugata Ray and Gerhard Wolf (De Gruyter, 2021).
Maître de conférences, Section des Sciences Religieuses, École Pratique des Hautes Études
Andrea Acri’s research focuses on the religious history of India and Southeast Asia, with particular attention to the circulation of Śivaite and Buddhist Tantric traditions in the light of textual sources. He is actively engaged in the edition and translation of Sanskrit-Old Javanese texts, and has widely published on premodern and modern Javanese literature and visual/performative arts, as well as contemporary Balinese Hinduism and yoga traditions in insular Southeast Asia.
Naman P. Ahuja
Professor of Indian Art History, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Naman Ahuja is an art historian and curator based in New Delhi. His research and teaching focus on Indian iconography and sculpture, temple architecture, and Sultanate-period painting. His prominent exhibitions include The Body in Indian Art and Thought at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels (2013) and the National Museum in Delhi (2014), and India and the World: A History in Nine Stories at CSMVS, Mumbai (2017).
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Daud Ali is an historian of pre-Mughal South Asia. He has published on a wide range of subjects, including courtly and monastic discipline, mercantile practices, erotic poetry and courtship, slavery, ideas of space, time and history in inscriptions, and, most recently, friendship in ancient India. He also co-edited the volume Garden and Landscape Practices in Precolonial India: Histories from the Deccan with Emma Flatt (Routledge, 2011). His current research project concerns the production of King Bhoja’s cycles in western India.
Professor of Art History, Drexel University
Pia Brancaccio’s research focuses on early Buddhist art and cross-cultural exchange in South Asia with a regional emphasis on the visual cultures of ancient Gandhara (Pakistan) and the Deccan Plateau (India). She has published extensively on the Buddhist caves of western Deccan, including a monograph on The Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad (Brill, 2010) and the edited volume Living Rock (Marg, 2013). She is also a longstanding collaborator of the ISMEO-Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan.
Thomas Jaffe Curator of Indo-Pacific Art, Yale University Art Gallery
Ruth Barnes is the Thomas Jaffe Curator of Indo-Pacific Art at Yale University Art Gallery. She received a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford based on her research in eastern Indonesia. From 1990 to 2009, she was textile curator at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where she focussed on early Indian Ocean trade networks. She has written extensively on Indonesian weaving and related art forms (see, e.g. her recent volume Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles, co-edited with Mary Kahlenberg, Prestel, 2010). She is currently working on a comprehensive catalogue of Yale’s collection of Indonesian textiles.
Associate Professor of History of Art and Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Nachiket Chanchani is interested in reconstructing moments in the history of South Asia by thinking across geographical boundaries and other categories including nature and culture, art and time, materials and meaning systems, word and image, and local phenomena and global formations. He is the author of Mountain Temples and Temple Mountains: Architecture, Religion, and Nature in the Central Himalayas (University of Washington Press, 2019). Nachiket is currently completing a study on scrolls from western India and beginning to turn his attention to temple cultures in the Brahmaputra valley. He periodically writes on cultural policy for leading Indian newspapers.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago
Whitney Cox’s main interests are in the literary and intellectual history of southern India in the early second millennium CE. His research has concentrated on Sanskrit kāvya and poetic theory, the history of the Śaiva religion, and medieval Tamil literature and epigraphy—especially that of the Choḻa dynastic state. Forthcoming works include translations of Bilhaṇa’s Vikramāṅkadevacarita and the third book of Kampan’s Tamil Rāmāyaṇam, as well as a study of the interactions between Kashmir and India’s Tamil-speaking south over the medieval period.
Richard H. Davis
Professor and Chair of Religion and Asian Studies Programs at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Richard Davis′ main research focus is on the religion and visual culture of South Asia. He maintains a collection of popular religious prints from India, the Davis God Poster Collection, at Bard College. His book Lives of Indian Images (Princeton University Press, 1997) won the 1999 AAS Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize. Currently he is continuing work on the reception history of the Bhagavad Gita and on a history of religions in early South Asia titled Religious Cultures of Early India, up to 700 CE.
Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art, Columbia University
Vidya Dehejia is the author of many books, catalogues, and essays on the cultural and intellectual history of India. Her subjects have ranged from Buddhist art in its earliest centuries to the esoteric temples of North India, and from sacred Choḻa bronzes to the art of British India. In addition, she extensively studied the theoretical basis for the portrayal of visual narratives in Indian sculpture and painting. In the course of her career, she has combined research with teaching and exhibition-related activities around the world. For her exceptional contributions to art and education, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan Award by the Indian Government in 2012. The set of A.W. Mellon Lectures she presented at the National Gallery, Washington DC, in 2016 have been recently published with the title The Thief who Stole my Heart: The Material Life of Sacred Bronzes from Chola India, 855-1280 (Princeton University Press, 2021).
Associate Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Director of Graduate Studies in Art History, Penn State University
Madhuri Desai’s research interests are in the area of South Asian architectural and urban history with a focus on the Early Modern and colonial periods. Her first monograph, Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City (University of Washington Press, 2017) is an in-depth study of the remaking of the city of Banaras between the late sixteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is currently working on projects that engage questions of archaism and formal revival in Early Modern South Asia, with particular reference to Mughal architecture.
Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Emma Flatt’s research has focused on mentalities and practices in the courtly societies of the Indo-Islamicate Deccani Sultanates of South India, as illustrated in her recent monograph The Courts of The Deccan Sultanates: Living Well in The Persian Cosmopolis (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Ongoing research projects include a study of the esoteric sciences in the ʿAdil Shahi Bijapur, a Deccani 16th-century encyclopedia of astrology and magic, and the cultural construction of a sense of taste in early modern India. She is currently on a fellowship at the National University of Singapore.
Julie A. Hanlon
Senior Analyst, Learning Technology, University of Chicago Professional Education
Julie Hanlon’s research is highly interdisciplinary and draws upon her academic training in archaeology, epigraphy, religious studies, Tamil language and literature, GIS, and statistical analysis. Besides participating in archaeological research projects across the Indian subcontinent, she has been regularly engaged in the Digital Humanities. Her recent work examines the materiality of Tamil texts and inscriptions and the ways in which the preservation, destruction, and reuse of literature and landscape figured in the formation of religious identities in first-millennium South India.
Associate Curator, Arts of Asia and the Islamic World, Detroit Institute of Arts
As a curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Katherine Kasdorf oversees the collections of the Arts of Asia, the Islamic World, and the Ancient Middle East. She also collaborated on the development and opening of the Robert and Katherine Jacobs Asian Wing in 2018. Her main research interests lie in architectural reuse and the relationship between temples and urban identity in medieval South Asia. The same subjects are at the core of her doctoral dissertation, titled Forming Dorasamudra: Temples of the Hoysala Capital in Context.
Visiting Research Scholar, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
Divya Kumar-Dumas is a historian of art and architecture who specializes in recovering the attestable designed landscapes of first millennium South Asia from archaeology and text. Building from a long-standing interest in how communities and individuals preserve and transmit their cultural heritage, her work is influenced by methods from studies of word and image, gardens and landscapes, landscape and garden archaeology, cultural and oral history, and folk and traditional arts. Her current research at ISAW focuses on unpacking typologies for first millennium Southern Asian ports by using digital tools to understand attested ports as artifact distributions on geological and topographical landforms that were used by humans.
Graduate Student, Department of the History of Art, Yale University
Mohit Manohar is studying South Asian and Islamic art. His dissertation The City of Gods and Fortune analyzes the architectural and urban history of Daulatabad, a city located in Deccan India, between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries. His research, which is currently supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has appeared in catalogs from the Yale Center for British Art and the Institute of Contemporary Indian Arts, Mumbai. Mohit Manohar also writes fiction, and his short stories have appeared in American literary journals.
Associate Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, Dornsife
James McHugh is a scholar of premodern South Asian texts, history, and religions with a focus on cultural history and material culture. He works with Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit sources in many genres and subjects, ranging from literature to medicine. His book Sandalwood and Carrion (Oxford University Press, 2012) is the first book-length study of the sense of smell and the use of aromatics and perfumes in premodern India. His forthcoming publication, An Unholy Brew: Alcohol in Indian History and Religion (Oxford University Press, expected Fall 2021), is a comprehensive account of the history of alcohol (and some drugs) in premodern India.
Kathleen D. Morrison
Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Kathleen Morrison’ s research, focusing primarily on South Asia, integrates environmental sciences, archaeology, and history to address relevant issues in historical-political ecology—e.g. the formation and transformation of anthropogenic landscapes; the causes and consequences of agricultural change; colonialism and imperialism; and the interplay between political power, economic organization, and social strategies of production and exchange. Before her appointment at U-Penn, she led the Paleoecology Laboratory in Chicago. She is currently working on the expansion of rice agriculture and the development of elite cuisines in southern India, and on the long-term history of biodiversity.
Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art, University of California, Berkeley
Sugata Ray’s research focuses on the intersections among early modern and colonial artistic cultures, transterritorial ecologies, and the natural environment. As an extension of his interest in the field of eco art history, his current book project Indian Ocean Art Histories in the Age of Anthropocene Extinction focuses on the intersecting histories of the global trade in exotica and natural resources and the extinction of Indian Ocean species from the 1500s onward. He is among the funders of a new campus-level South Asia Art Initiative at UC Berkeley, aimed at building a comprehensive program on the art and visual culture of South Asia.
Associate Professor of Art History, Rutgers University
Tamara Sears researches on the art and architectural history of South Asia, with particular emphasis on the relationships between political power, religion, and the production of sacred architecture in ancient and medieval India. Her first book, Worldly Gurus and Spiritual Kings: Architecture and Asceticism in Medieval India (Yale University Press, 2014), received the PROSE Award in Architecture and Urban Planning. She is currently completing a second book that examines the relationships among architecture, environmental history, and travel on different scales. Underway is also a third project on architectural revivalism and the rhetoric of secularism in twentieth-century temple architecture.
Anna L. Seastrand
Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Anna Seastrand’s research is on early modern southeastern India, with a broad interest in the embodied experience of sacred space. Her works have explored the relationship between text, narrative and image, the nature of portraiture, and the depiction and functions of landscape. As a Visiting Scholar at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (University of Chicago), she collaborates with a multidisciplinary team on the study of the “interwoven” sonic and visual histories of the Indian Ocean world. In parallel, she is working on a book focusing on trees in South Asian art and religious practice.
Associate Professor and Chair, Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune
Trained as a professional architect, Pushkar Sohoni worked on several conservation projects in India and abroad before receiving his doctorate in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania. He also collaborated with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania. Besides contemporary architecture and its practice in South Asia, his research interests include archaeology, collecting practices, history, and numismatics. His most recent publication is The Architecture of a Deccan Sultanate: Courtly Practice and Royal Authority in Late Medieval India (I.B. Tauris, 2018).