Indira Viswanathan Peterson

About Me

Indira Viswanathan Peterson, Professor Emerita of Asian Studies, Mount Holyoke College, specializes in Indian literature in Sanskrit and Tamil, Hinduism, and South Indian cultural history and performing arts. Other interests include translation, European-Indian culture contact and comparative literature. Her publications include several translations, critical studies of major works, and edited volumes: Poems to Śiva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints (1989), Design and Rhetoric in a Sanskrit Court Epic: The Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi (2003), Arjuna and the Hunter (2016); Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in modern South India, with Davesh Soneji (2008); and Tamil Geographies: Cultural Constructions of Space and Place in South India, with Martha Selby (2007).

Indira Peterson is completing the monograph Tanjore Renaissance: King Serfoji II and South Indian Modernity, on the nineteenth-century encounter of multiple Indian and European knowledge systems, arts, and sciences in an Indian cultural center, under the leadership of the royal polymath and innovator Serfoji II. Also in progress are Dramathe Court, and the Public in Early Modern India, and An Enlightenment Library in Nineteenth-century India: The Personal Collection of King Serfoji II of Tanjore (r.1798-1832).

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Curriculum Vitae

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Upcoming Events

Lecture :“Violins and Veenas, Airs and Ragas: Dialogues between European and Indian music in nineteenth-century India.” University of California Santa Cruz History Department and the UCSC Khan Classical Indian Music Endowment. Thursday, May 18th, 2023, UCSC, Humanities 1, Room 520, 2:00-3:30 pm.

Past Events

  • “New Cultural Histories of South India : Aesthetics, Social Change, and the Politics of Culture.” A Conference in Honor of Indira Viswanathan Peterson, Professor of Asian Studies, Emerita, Mount Holyoke College. Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania, November 9-10, 2019.

  • Conference on “Caste, Community, Capital: New Research on the Performing Arts of South India”, Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania, September 9-10, 2022