AboutHistorian of religion and law in South and Southeast Asia, using Sanskrit texts and inscriptions in Prakrit, Sanskrit, Old Javanese, and Classical Tamil. I study the formation and spread of Brahmanical ideals and institutions in the ancient and early medieval periods.
EducationBA Columbia, MTS Harvard, PhD Columbia.
Work Shared in CORE
ProjectsThe Authority of the Brahmins
Part I: Dharma and Discipline in the Formation of Classical Brahmanism. A study of the “inner dynamics” of early Brahmanism: the use of disciplinary ritual regimens, developed between the 6th c. bce and the 6th c. ce, to embody the ideals of the tradition, to provide a framework for its transmission, to set ethical and legal norms, and to mark elite social status.
Part II: Patronage of Brahmins and the Influence of Brahmanical Norms. A study of the “outer dynamics” of Brahmanism: the institutional mechanisms by which Brahmins succeeded in translating its religious authority into a vehicle for social, legal, and cultural influence between the 2nd c. and the 12th c. ce, based on normative texts, inscriptions, and other documents.
Atharvaśiras: Historical Study, Critical Edition, and Translation.
Critical edition and study of the Baudhāyanagrhyasūtra.
Upcoming Talks and Conferences
- “Svayambhu, an Old Javanese Paraphrase of Mānavadharmaśāstra, Chapter 8,” paper for the 229th Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Chicago, 15–18 March 2019.
- “From Scholastic Paraphrase to Customary Law Code? Genres of Javanese Juristic Literature,” invited lecture, École française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris, 11 March 2019.
- “Vedic Ritual Back-Formations of a Classical Goddess,” paper for the Navarātri Seminar, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Denver, 17–20 November 2018.
- “What Did the Authors of the Śivadharma and the Viṣṇudharma Mean by the Word Dharma?” paper for a special panel on “The Viṣṇu- and Śivadharma: Early Medieval Lay Religion in a Socio-Religious and Historical Perspective” at the 17th World Sanskrit Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 9–13 July 2018.
- “Status vs Human Dignity in Ancient and Medieval India,” invited paper for the 2018 International Conference on Legal Thought and Social Change, “Human Dignity in Asia: Theory and Practice,” Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 2–5 July 2018.
- “Religious Exemptions and Religious Pluralism in Early Indian Endowments,” invited lecture, Department of Indology, Kyoto University, 23 June 2018.
- “Jayanta Bhaṭṭa on Reciting the Atharvaśiras and Feeding Brahmins,” invited lecture, Veda Seminar, Kyoto University, 22 June 2018.
- “Ritual Expertise as an Intangible Asset in the Political Economy of First-Millennium India,” invited paper for a conference, “Rituals for Power, Rituals for Prosperity” organized by Himanshu Prabha Ray, Humboldt Fellow, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, 23–24 March 2018.
MembershipsAmerican Oriental Society (director-at-large, 2015–2018), American Academy of Religion, International Association of Sanskrit Studies (regional director for the U.S. and Canada since 2018), Association for Asian Studies, North American Association for the Study of Religion, Pali Text Society