Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Asian Studies Welcomes Professor Donald Davis

Wed, August 28, 2013

The Department of Asian Studies welcomes Donald Davis as a new Associate Professor of Sanskrit. Davis joins us from University of Wisconsin - Madison where he has been teaching for the past eight years. He earned his M.A. degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1995 and later became the first student to receive a Ph.D from the Department of Asian Studies. He studied under the careful direction of Patrick Olivelle and of Richard Lariviere and completed his Ph.D in Asian Cultures and Languages in spring of 2000.

Professor Davis began his teaching career in the Department of Religion at Bucknell University, and after two years, won a Mellon Fellowship at the University of Michigan.  He was then hired by the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he was an Associate Professor in the Department Language and Cultures of Asia as well as the Academic Director of SASLI (South Asian Summer Language Institute), a program in which students learn a full year of the South Asian language of their choice during an eight-week immersion summer session. 

Donald Davis’s primary area of research has been in the legal literature of classical and medieval India as expressed in the classical Sanskrit and the pre-modern Malayalam languages.  He has published two monographs on this topic.  The first, The Boundaries of Hindu Law: Tradition, Custom, and Politics in Medieval Kerala, is a thorough revision of his doctoral dissertation. The second book, his 2010 The Spirit of Hindu Law, was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press, and has won him wide acclaim. Davis’s work in Malayalam is also worthy of note.  He published a superb translation of a set of short stories by the modern author M. Mukundan (Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 2005).

He will be teaching ANS 340 History of Hindu Religious Traditions in fall 2013. 

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