South Asian Studies Council

The MacMillan Center 

210 Luce Hall, 203.436.3517

Sunil Amrith (History; on leave)

Acting Chair
Rohit De (History)

Professors Sunil Amrith (History), Tim Barringer (History of Art), Veneeta Dayal (Linguistics), Michael Dove (School of the Environment), Robert Jensen (School of Management), Alan Mikhail (History), A. Mushfiq Mobarak (School of Management), Kaivan Munshi (Economics), Rohini Pande (Economics), Kishwar Rizvi (History of Art), Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan (Anthropology), Shyam Sunder (School of Management), Steven Wilkinson (Political Science)

Associate Professors Rohit De (History), Nihal DeLanerolle (School of Medicine), Mayur Desai (Public Health), Zareena Grewal (American Studies; Religious Studies)

Assistant Professors Subhashini Kaligotla (​History of Art​), Sarah Khan (Political Science), Priyasha Mukhopadhyay (English​)

Senior Lecturer Carol Carpenter (School of the Environment)

Senior Lector Swapna Sharma (Hindi)

Lector Aleksandar Uskokov (Sanskrit)

Students with an interest in South Asian Studies should apply to one of the University’s degree-granting departments, such as Anthropology, History, Political Science, Economics, or Religious Studies. The South Asian Studies Council is part of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. It has been organized to provide guidance to graduate students who desire to use the resources of the departments of the University that offer South Asia-related courses.

The South Asian Studies Council aims to bring together faculty and students sharing an interest in South Asia, and it supplements the curriculum with seminars, conferences, and special lectures by scholars from Yale as well as visiting scholars. It provides information concerning grants, fellowships, research programs, and foreign study opportunities.

Language instruction is offered in Hindi and Sanskrit. Students planning to undertake field research or language study in South Asia may apply to the council for summer fellowship support.

For information and program materials, contact the South Asian Studies Council, Yale University, PO Box 208206, New Haven CT 06520-8206; or visit our website,


SAST 670b / RLST 646b, Indian Philosophy in Sanskrit LiteratureAleksandar Uskokov

In this course we focus on issues of philosophical significance in Sanskrit literature of “nonstandard” philosophical genres, i.e., other than the treatise and the commentary. Specifically we read from canonical Hindu texts such as the Upaniṣads, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Bhagavad-gītā, and Yogavāsiṣṭha; the classical genres of drama and praise poetry; and hagiographical literature, all in English translation. Attention is paid not only to substance but also to form. The selection of philosophical problems includes philosophy of mind and personal identity; allegory; the ethics of nonviolence; philosophy, politics, and religious pluralism; the highest good; theodicy; and philosophical debate.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

SKRT 510a / LING 515a, Introductory Sanskrit IAleksandar Uskokov

An introduction to Sanskrit language and grammar. Focus on learning to read and translate basic Sanskrit sentences in the Indian Devanagari script. No prior background in Sanskrit assumed. Credit only on completion of SKRT 520/LING 525.
MTWThF 11:35am-12:25pm

SKRT 520b / LING 525b, Introductory Sanskrit IIAleksandar Uskokov

Continuation of SKRT 510/LING 515. Focus on the basics of Sanskrit grammar; readings from classical Sanskrit texts written in the Indian Devanagari script. Prerequisite: SKRT 510/LING 515.
MTWThF 11:35am-12:25pm

SKRT 530a / LING 538a, Intermediate Sanskrit IAleksandar Uskokov

The first half of a two-term sequence aimed at helping students develop the skills necessary to read texts written in Sanskrit. Readings include selections from the Hitopadesa, Kathasaritsagara, Mahabharata, and Bhagavadgita. Prerequisite: SKRT 520/LING 525 or equivalent.
MWF 10:30am-11:20am

SKRT 556a, Advanced Sanskrit: Readings in Philosophical PoemsAleksandar Uskokov

The purpose of this course is to introduce Sanskrit philosophical works, broadly construed, written in verse. The focus of the course ranges from highly aestheticized narrative literature that makes philosophical points and often includes philosophical instruction (for instance, the Yogavāsiṣṭha); over philosophical sections of the epics (Mahābhārata), Purāṇas (Viṣṇu, Bhagavata), and medieval literature (Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇa); through praise poetry with philosophical significance (stotras); to strictly philosophical works set in verse (such as Gauḍapāda’s Āgama-śāstra or Nāgārjuna’s Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā). The text of focus in any term of instruction is chosen according to student interest. Therefore, like the two other Advanced Sanskrit courses, the course is repeatable for credit. Special attention is given to matters of style, as well as to advanced morphology and syntax. Additionally, the course pays attention to the scholastic techniques of: (1) word glossing, (2) sentence construction, (3) word morphology through the principle of base and suffix, and (4) compound analysis. With this, the course facilitates learning the art of reading commentaries for the sake of understanding texts. Prerequisite: two years of Sanskrit (=L4 or equivalent). In exceptional cases (depending on the specific text taught in a specific term), graduate students who do not earn L credits may join with a year of Sanskrit and should contact the instructor.
MW 4pm-5:15pm