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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

 
Image of pandits

This project is the first large-scale investigation of the intellectual history of Advaita Vedānta, a long-lived and influential tradition of Sanskrit philosophical theology, in the period between 1750 and 1900. It combines traditional philological methods, historiography, and prosopographical analysis to reconstruct the scholarly networks sustaining the production of Advaita Vedānta works and ideas, and identify its key figures, centres of learning, and topics of speculation and debate in the colonial age.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the project will last four years and see the contribution of Dr Jonathan Duquette as the main research associate. Two other researchers are attached to the project: Dr K.S.R. Chakravarthy is currently based in Pondichery, India, and works on the Andhra networks of pandits until Summer 2023; another postdoctoral researcher, mainly based in the UK, will join the team in September 2022 for a duration of two years.

The main activities of the project include: the construction of a comprehensive database of authors and works of Advaita produced between 1750 and 1900; the collection and inspection of unpublished manuscripts and rare publications preserved in Indian and European libraries; and bi-weekly seminars where hitherto unstudied Advaita texts are read with experts from India, Europe and elsewhere. 

Led by Prof Vincenzo Vergiani, this project is carried out in collaboration with Prof Ankur Barua (Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge) and Dr Hugo David (École française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris-Pondicherry). 

External researchers