2017, 2010    The Great Temple at Thanjavur: A Thousand Years 1010- 2010. George Michell and Indira V. Peterson. Mumbai: Marg. Revised reprint. Originally published 2010.

2016    Arjuna and the Hunter. The Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi, edited and translated by Indira V. Peterson.  First complete English translation (with devanāgarī parallel text) of a 6th- century Sanskrit court epic, Murty Classical Library of India, Harvard University Press, 2016.  MCLI translation series No.9.

2008a    Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in modern South India. Indira Viswanathan Peterson and Davesh Soneji, eds.  Delhi: Oxford University Press.

2008b  Tamil Geographies: Cultural Constructions of Space and Place in South India. Martha A. Selby and Indira V. Peterson, eds. Albany: State            University of New York Press, 2007, pp. 59-86.  SUNY Series in Hindu Studies, Wendy Doniger, ed.

2003    Design and Rhetoric in a Sanskrit Court Epic:  The Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi.   Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003.

2001    Editor, Indian Literature (600 B.C. to the 20th century), The Norton Anthology of World Literature, 2nd Edition, New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. Volumes A-F.

1995    Editor, Indian literature (600 B.C. to the 20th century), in the Expanded Sixth Edition of The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. New York: W. W. Norton, 2 volumes, 1995. Instructor’s Guide, 1995.   Maynard  Mack, et al. , eds. Responsible for selection, headnotes, annotation, ancillary materials (maps, timelines), and Instructor’s Guide.

1989    Poems to Śiva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989. Princeton Library of Asian Translations.

            Translation of 270 poems from the Tēvāram, a collection of Tamil Śaiva hymns from the sixth to the eighth centuries, along with a study of the hymns with reference to the contexts of Tamil literature, devotional religion (bhakti), temples, hagiography and musical performance.

1990    Poems to Śiva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints.  (Reprint, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass).

Book manuscripts and other writings in progress, mainly in relation to the larger project “Literature and Culture in Early Modern South India, 1685-1835”

1. Monograph (completed manuscript)

Tanjore Renaissance:King Serfoji II and the Making of Modern South India

Cultural and intellectual biography of a cosmopolitan polymath and pioneer of modernity in colonial India.

2.  “Drama, the Court, and the Public in Early Modern South India.” Monographon dramatic literature and performance genres in 17th-19th century South India, with a focus on the Thanjavur Maratha court under Shahji II, Ekoji, Tulajaji I, Pratapsingh and Serfoji II.

3. Chapter 21, “Literature, Art and Aesthetics”, Indian Literature from 800 B.C. to the 17th century. Introductions and selections. (completed), for Sources of Indian Tradition, third Revised edition, Volume 1, Columbia University Press.

4. “An Enlightenment Library in Early Nineteenth-century India: The Personal Collection of King Serfoji II of Tanjore”.

Book project, research in progress, supported by an ACE-Sloan Capstone project grant from Mount Holyoke College

5. Imagining the World in Eighteenth-century India: The Kuṟavañci Fortune-teller Dramas of Tamilnadu.

Monograph focusing on my study and translation of “Kuṟavañci ” (“fortune-teller”) dance dramas in Tamil and other languages, in relation to the polyglot and cosmopolitan cultural history of early modern South India.

6. An English translation of “Kalaimaṇi” Kothamangalam Subbu’s Tamil novel Tillana Mohanambal.

7. Editorial Board: Revision of Sources of Indian Tradition third Revised edition, Volume 1, Columbia University Press.



“The Courtesan’s Arts in the Tamil viṟaliviṭutūtu poetic genre: Translations from the Kūḷappanāyakkaṉ viṟaliviṭutūtu”.

            In “Tamiḻ tanta paricu: Sbornik statyey v chest’ Alexandra Mikhailovicha Dubyanskovo (The collection of articles in honor of Alexander M. Dubyanskiy)”.  Compiled and edited by O. Vecherina, N. Gordiychuk, T. Dubyanskaya. Moscow: Russian State University for the Humanities, 54-83. Orientalia et Classica. Papers of the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies.


 “The Sequence of King Śarabhendra’s Sacred Places: Pilgrimage and Kingship in a Marathi text from 19th-century Thanjavur”.

            In Anna Aurelia Esposito, Heike Oberlin, Karin Juliana Steiner, B.A. Viveka Rai (Eds.). In ihrer rechten Hand hielt sie ein silbernes Messer mit Glöckchen … Setubandhinīvandanakaumudī [Festschrift Heidrun Brückner]. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2016, pp. 275-81.


“Serfoji II of Tanjore and Missionary C.S. John: Education and Innovation in the Early Nineteenth Century”. Esther Fihl and A.R. Venkatachalapathy, eds. Beyond Tranquebar: Grappling across Cultural Borders in South India. Delhi: Orient Blackswan, pp. 427-450.


“The Monuments of King Serfoji II: European Sculpture & Architecture at the Thanjavur Maratha Court”. Text of  IWA (International Women’s Association) Endowment Lecture. Bulletin of the Government Museum, Chennai. Edited by the Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Museums. Chennai: Government Museum, pp.1-28.


“Serfoji II of Thanjavur and European Music”. Journal of the Music Academy of Madras. Volume 84, 2013, pp. 57 -71.


“The Schools of Serfoji II of Tanjore: Education and Princely Modernity in Early 19th –Century India”. Transcolonial Modernities in South Asia. Edited by Michael S. Dodson and Brian A. Hatcher. Routledge 2012, pp. 15-44. Routledge  Studies in the Modern History of South Asia.


“Multilingual Dramas at the Tanjavur Maratha Court and Literary Cultures in Early Modern India”. Medieval History Journal, 14, 2 (2011): 285-321


“King Serfoji II of Tanjore: Envisioning Modernity in Nineteenth-century India.” The German version of the essay appears as “Raja Serfoji II. von Tanjore —ein früher Visionär der Moderne in Indien des 19. Jahrhunderts”. In Indien als Bilderbuch: Die Konstruktion der Pittoresken Fremde: Einhundert indische Gouachen um 1800  aus Lindenaus Kunstbibliothek”, pp. 17-22, Altenburg: Lindenau-Museum, Germany, July 2011.

            Catalog of the exhibitionIndia as Picture-book. The construction of the Picturesque Other. One Hundred Paintings around 1800 from the Art Library of       the Lindenau Museum), at the Lindenau Museum, Altenburg, Germany  (July 1-         September 11, 2011).


“Mapping Madras in Sarvadevavilāsa: Urban space, Patronage, and Power in a nineteenth -century Sanskrit Text.” In  M.Kannan and  Jennifer Clare, eds. Passages: Relationships between Tamil and Sanskrit. French Institute of Pondicherry ( IF) / Tamil Chair, UC Berkeley, 2009, pp. 333- 358.


“Rewriting Cultural History through the Novel: Music and Dance as Tamil Tradition in Kalaimani’s Tillana Mohanambal “.  In Indira Peterson and Davesh Soneji, eds., Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in Modern South India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 252 –280.


“Portraiture at the Thanjavur Maratha Court: Toward Modernity in the Nineteenth Century”. In Portraits in Princely India, 1700-1947. Edited by Rosie Llewellyn-Jones. Bombay: Marg June 2008, pp. 44-57.


“The Drama of the Kuṟavañci Fortune-teller: Land, Landscape, and Social Relations in an 18th-Century Tamil Genre.”  In Martha A. Selby and Indira Viswanathan Peterson, eds.  Tamil Geographies: Cultural Constructions of Spaceand Place in South India.  Albany: SUNY Press, pp. 59-86.


Modern (Indian Literature)”.  In Encyclopedia of India. Ed.  Stanley Wolpert. Vol. 3. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons,2006. 65-71, Gale Virtual Reference Library (4 volumes).


“Śaiva religion and the performing arts in a Tamil Novel: Kalaimaṇi’s Tillānā Mohanāmbaḷ.” In: South Indian horizons : Felicitation volume for François Gros on the occasion of his 70th birthday / ed. by Jean-Luc Chevillard and Eva Wilden with the collaboration of A. Murugaiyan.  Pondichery: Institut Français d’Indologie de Pondichery ; Ecole Française d’Extreme-Orient, 2004. – XLV, 651 S. – (Publications du departement d’indologie) ; 94, pp. 85-106.

”Between Print and Performance: The Tamil Christian Poems of Vedanayaka Sastri and the Literary cultures of 19th-century South India.”  In: Stuart Blackburn and Vasudha Dalmia, eds, India’s Literary History: Essays on the Nineteenth Century. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004, pp. 25-59.

“Chidambaram and the Dance of Shiva in South Indian Myth and Poetry”.  In Chidambaram: Home of Nataraja, edited by Vivek Nanda and George Michell,  Marg Publications, 2004, pp.45-53 .


“Tanjore, Tranquebar, and Halle: European Science and German Missionary Education in the Lives of two Indian Intellectuals in the Early Nineteenth Century” in Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communications since 1500.  Robert Eric Frykenberg, editor. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans / London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003, Studies in the History of Christian Missions.  R.E. Frykenberg and Brian Stanley, eds., pp. 93-126.


“In Search of the Fortune-teller from the Hills”. In Ravina Aggarwal, ed., Into the High Ranges: The Penguin Book of Mountain Writing. Delhi: Penguin Books, 2002, 36-53.

“Bethlehem Kuṟavañci of Vedanayaka Sastri of Tanjore: The cultural discourses of a 19th century TamilChristian Poem.”  In Christians, Cultural Interactions, and the Religious Traditions of India. Edited by Judith Brown and Robert E. Frykenberg. Grand Rapids: W. Eerdmans, 2002, 9-36.


Indian Literature, Literature in the languages of the Indian subcontinent.  Article in Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001.


“In Search of Past Lives: Karma and Rebirth in Sanskrit kathā Literature.” Journal of Oriental Research Vol.LXVII-LXX  (Dr.S.S.Janaki Commemoration volume) , 2000: pp. 111-44   Madras: The Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute.


“The Cabinet of King Serfoji of Tanjore: A European collection in early 19th-Century India.”  Journal of the History of Collections, Volume 11, 1, 1999, pp. 71 -93.


“C.F. Schwartz and the Education of King Serfoji II and Vedanayaka Sastriar of Tanjore: An Evaluation of the Sources.”  In Christian Fredrick Schwartz:  His contributions to South India.  Lutheran Heritage Archives Series 2. Edited by Daniel Jeyaraj.  Chennai: Lutheran Heritage Archives, 1999.  74 -96.


“Science in the Tranquebar Mission Curriculum: Natural Theology and Indian Responses.”  Michael Bergunder, ed., Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert: Ihre Bedeutung für die euroische Geistesgeschichte und ihr wissenschaftlicher Quellenwert für die Indienkunde.  Neue Hallesche Berichte,  Band I.  Halle: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen, 1999, pp. 175 -219. 


“Thapar, Romila 1931- .”  Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999, pp. 1176 -78.


“The Kaveri in legend and literature.” Eternal Kaveri: Historical Sites along South India’s Greatest River, Edited by George Michell.  Bombay: Marg Publications, 1999, pp. 35 -48.


“Śramaṇas against the Tamil Way: Jains as Others in Tamil Śaiva Literature.” Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, edited by John E.Cort. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998, pp. 163 -185.


“The evolution of the Kuṟavañci dance drama in Tamil Nadu: Negotiating the “Folk” and the Classical” in the Bharata Nāṭyam Canon. “ South Asia Research, 18, 1, 1998,  pp.  39 -72.


“Bhakti.”  Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions.  Macmillan Reference, 1998.


In The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion.  Edited by Jonathan Z.Smith and William Scott Green, with the American Academy of Religion, Harper 1995:

a. Articles   Hinduism (Performing arts): Drama, Dance, Music:  pp.. 442 -444.     Hinduism (Poetry):   pp. 445 -446.

b. Short articles: Hindu Renaissance, p.452.; Nayanar, p.764; Valmiki, p.1113.


“Tamil Śaiva Hagiography”.  In Winand Callewaert and Rupert Snell, eds. According to Tradition: Hagiographical Writing in India.  Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1994, pp. 191-228.


“In Praise of the Lord: The Image of the Royal Patron in the Songs of Saint Cuntaramūrtti and the Composer Tyāgarāja.”  In The Powers of Art: Patronage in Indian Culture, ed. Barbara Stoler Miller, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp.120-141.


“Kālidāsa’s Garland of Similes:  Mālopamā Kālidāsasya.”  Ramaranjan Mukherji Felicitation Volume.  Calcutta, 1992,  pp. 408-415.


“Arjuna’s Combat with the Kirāta: Rasa and Bhakti in Bhāravi’s Kirātārjunīya.”  In  Essays on the Mahābhārata, ed. Arvind Sharma. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991,  pp. 212-250.


“Women, Men, and the Interior World in Tamil Fiction of the 1960’s.”  Literature East and West.  Special issue: Women in Asian Literature. ed. Andree F. Sjoberg, 1991,  pp. 91-117.


“Tapas and Kṣātra-dharma in Bhāravi’s Kirātārjunīya.”  Journal of Oriental Research. LVI-LXII, 1986-92.  Dr. S.S. Janaki Felicitation Volume.  Madras:  Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, 1990, pp.336-351.


“Playing with Universes:  Figures of Speech in Kāvya Epic Description.”  In Anna L. Dallapiccola, ed., The Shastric Tradition in the Indian Arts.  Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1989,  pp. 285-99.


“The Tie that Binds: Brothers and Sisters in North and South India.”  South Asian Social Scientist. Jan.- June 1988,  Volume IV, No. 1,  pp. 25 – 52.


“Asiatick Researches: Sir William Jones and the Study of Other Cultures.”  Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, Winter 1987, pp12-16


Articles in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Macmillan, 1987:  “Śaivism, Nāyaṉārs”, (vol. 13, pp. 12-14) and “The Ganges” (vol, 5, pp. 12-16).


“Sanskrit in Carnatic Music: The Songs of Muttusvāmi Dīkṣita.”  Indo-Iranian Journal, 29, 1986, pp. 183-199.


“The kṛti as an Integrative Cultural Form: Aesthetic Experience in the Religious Songs of two South Indian Classical Composers.”  Journal of South Asian Literature, Vol. 19, No. 2, Fall-Winter, 1984, pp. 165-179.


“Lives of the Wandering Singers: Pilgrimage and Poetry in Tamil Śaivite Hagiography.”  History of Religions, Vol 22,  No. 4,  May 1983, pp. 338-360.


“Singing of a Place: Pilgrimage as Metaphor and Motif in the Tēvāram Songs of the Tamil Śaivite Saints”.  Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 102,  No. 1, 1982,  pp. 69-90.


“The Strong Woman in the Novels of T. Janakiraman: A New Conception of the Feminine in Contemporary Tamil Literature.”  Journal of Tamil Studies, Vol 21  June 1982,  pp. 20-35.

Review Essay

The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki. Vol I  Bālakāṇḍa. Introduction and translation by Robert P. Goldman, Princeton, N J, 1984 . In Religious Studies Review, Vol 12, No. 2, April 1986, pp.97-102.

Book Reviews (only the most recent reviews are listed individually)

Published in:  Journal of the American Oriental Society, The Journal of Asian Studies, Religious Studies Review, Journal of Religion,  Asian Folklore Studies,  Choice, American Historical Review, South Asia Research, American Historical Review, and other journals.

Book Reviews 

1.Rama Sundari Mantena, The Origins of Modern Historiography in India: Antiquarianism and Philology, 1780-1880.  In The American Historical Review 2013 vol.118, issue 2: 501-502.

2. Davesh Soneji, Unfinished Gestures: Devadāsīs, Memory, and Modernity in South India.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. In South Asian History and Culture. Vol.4, Issue 1, 2013, 144- 147.

Selected list of papers delivered, related to ongoing projects, and articles in progress

“Classics in the vernacular world: The Pañcatantra and Aesop in Translation in Colonial India”. Paper delivered at the first James Loeb in Munich Biennial Conference, “Translation and the Transformation of Antiquity: Access, Appropriation and Cultural Connections,” May18 to May 21, 2017, Munich and Murnau, Germany.

“Drama, the Court, and the Public in Maratha Thanjavur: Shahji II’s Marathi and Tamil Yakṣagānas”. Paper delivered at the workshop “New Directions in the study of Nayaka South India”. University of Chicago, April 2016.

“The Co-wives’ Quarrel as Gendered Trope in Eighteenth-century South Indian Dramas”. Delivered at the Annual South Asia Conference, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 2015

Organizer and Chair of panel “Remapping temple networks: New histories of place-making and pilgrimage in Tamilnadu”, Association for Asian Studies annual meeting, Chicago, March 26-29, 2015, and presentation, “ A new map for Tamil temples: Chola geography in an 18th-century Sanskrit text”, March 28, 2015.

“Raja Serfoji’s Cholanadu Pilgrimage and Kaveri Delta Temple Networks”. Lecture delivered at Roja Muthiah Research Library, Chennai, India, Feb.16, 2015

“Mobilizing Chola and Maratha Pasts in Colonial South India: King Serfoji II’s Reinvention of the Great Temple at Thanjavur”

Yale University Religious Studies Lecture, Thursday, September 26, 2013

‘Marathi Inscriptions, Imprints, and Historical Texts in 19th-century Tanjore: Raja Serfoji II and Multiple Modalities of Writing, Culture and Power.”

Paper delivered at the Workshop “Writing and the Inscription of Power in South Asia”. Duke University Center for South Asia Studies, Saturday, April 6, 2013

“Agastya for the New Age? Medical and Vernacular Translation at the Court of King Serfoji II of Tanjore”.

Paper delivered at the panel on Translation in premodern South Asia, Association for Asian Studies, National Meeting. Philadelphia,  March 2010

“The Marathi Aesop of King Serfoji II of Thanjavur and the Printed Book in Early 19th century India.”

Paper delivered in panel “Books, Texts, Print: Material and Intellectual Transactions in Colonial India”, organizer and chair, Association for Asian Studies, National Meeting. Chicago, March 2009.

“Envisioning the Goddess: Kālidāsa’s Language of Metaphor in the Kumārasaṃbhava (The Birth of the Prince)”.  Dean’s lecture, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, January 25, 2008.

“Rival Wives, Lovesick Ladies, and Kuravanji Fortune-tellers: Women in Dance Dramas from the Tanjavur Maratha court”.  Devadasi: INDANCE International Symposium on the Devadasi, Toronto, June 9, 2007

“Invoking Chola and Maratha Pasts in Colonial Thanjavur: King Serfoji II and the Brihadisvara Temple”. Paper presented at the Annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Boston, at the panel “Monuments, Narratives, and Reinventions of the Past”, Indira Peterson, Organizer and Chair, March 24, 2007. (I also presented this paper at INTACH, Thanjavur, India, and the Roja Muthia Research Library in Chennai, India, on January 11 and 18, 2007.)

“Noah’s Ark in Nineteenth Century Thanjavur: Enlightenment Science and Geography in poems by King Serfoji and Vedanayaka Sastri”. Lecture delivered at the Goethe Institute and Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India, January 18, 2007.

“Facing the Modern in Nineteenth Century Thanjavur: Frontality as Sign in Maratha Royal Portraits”. Invited paper, presented at the conference “The Art of Exchange: Circulation of Visual Culture in Colonial India”, Columbia University, New York, October 28, 2006.

“Becoming a Chola Monarch in 19th century Thanjavur: The Maratha ruler Serfoji II and the Brihadisvara Temple”, paper delivered at the conference “The Time of the Cholas: 900-1300 C.E”, University of California, Berkeley, April 22, 2006.

Organizer and chair, panel on “Texts, Discursive Practices and Court Culture in Premodern India”, 33rd annual South Asia conference, Madison, Wisconsin, October 17, 2004.

Paper presented: ‘Court theater and cultural politics in Maratha Tanjavur: “The Argument between Ganga and Kaveri (Gaṅgākāverī-saṃvād-nāṭak)”.

“Staging Smārta religion in Maratha Tanjavur: King Tulaja’s drama of the wedding of the Goddess at the Mahadevapatnam Vishnu temple.”

Paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, San Diego, March 2004.

“Beyond Tanjore City Walls: Serfoji II’s Improvisations on Kingship in his 1820-22 Pilgrimage to Benares”.  Paper delivered in the panel ‘Kingship in a Changing World”, University of Wisconsin South Asia conference, October 2002.

“Reading the Devadāsī as Sati: From South Indian Temple legend to Goethe’s poem “Der Gott und die Bajadere”.   Paper presented in the panel “Literary and Cultural Transformations of the Dancer/Courtesan” (also panel Organizer and chair)  the Association of Asian Studies National Meeting, San Diego, March 2000, San Diego.

“Intersecting Ethnographies: Tanjore Company Paintings of Castes and Occupations and 18th-century South Indian Discourses of Social Identity.”

  For the panel “Imagining Communities: Indigenous Constructions and Representations of Social Identity in Colonial India. 26th Annual South Asia conference, Madison, Wisconsin

October 18, 1997, Panel organizer and chair.

“The Lady in Love and the Female Fortune-teller from the Hills: Discourses of Gender, Class, and Desire in the Kuṟavañci genre.”  Kailath Conference on “Re-presenting women in the Indian literary, visual, and performing  arts”, University of California, Berkeley, 1997.  Invited paper.

“When the Love-God Smiles: The problem of satire in Sanskrit bhāṇa temple dramas from 18th-century South India.”  Association of Asian Studies Annual meeting, Honolulu, 1996.

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