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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Spring 2009

ANS 384 • Sanskrit Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30615 T
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
GAR 2.124

Course Description

The recent book, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India, by Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit at Columbia University, has created a lot of interest and controversy. This book deals with Pollock's theory of the "Sanskrit Cosmopolis", the interaction between language and power, that spanned all of India and much of South and South-East Asia from about the beginning of the common era until the early middle ages. Taking Pollock's theory as a heuristic focus, the course will explore the ways in which the Sanskrit language became the bearer of culture, knowledge, and power during the period from the 4th century BCE until about the 10th century CE. We will explore areas of culture and knowledge such as poetry, drama, medicine, aesthetics, science, philosophy, grammar, law, and religion, always with an eye to how these intersected with political and economic power. Each student will be required to send by email to all participants a one-page report and points for further discussion on the week's reading at least 24 hours prior to the seminar meeting

Grading Policy

Seminar attendance, weekly reports, and participation 30%; Final research paper 70%.


Sheldon Pollock, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India Selections from: Alf Hiltebeitel, Rethinking the Mahabharata Patrick Olivelle, Between the Empires Package of selected articles in Electronic Reserves


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