Sheldon I. Pollock
a complete bibliography and repository

Welcome to the complete bibliographic index and digital repository for Sheldon I. Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University. To explore the bibliography, simply click on one of the categories listed below.


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About Sheldon I. Pollock

Sheldon Pollock is the Arvind Raghunathan Professor Emeritus of South Asian Studies at Columbia University. From 2005--2011, he served as the William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Columbia, and before that as the George V. Bobrinskoy Distinguished Service Professor of Sanskrit and Indic Studies at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1989–2005. He was educated at Harvard University, receiving his undergraduate degree in Classics (Greek) magna cum laude in 1971, before earning an A.M. (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) in Sanskrit and Indian Studies. His areas of specialization are Sanskrit philology and Indian and comparative intellectual and literary history.

Pollock is the Founding General Editor of the Murty Classical Library of India series published by Harvard University Press. He was Associate and then General Editor of the Clay Sanskrit Library, for which he also edited and translated a number of volumes, and founder and joint editor of “South Asia across the Disciplines,” a collaborative venture of the university presses of California, Chicago, and Columbia. He directed the international collaborative research projects “Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia” and “Sanskrit Knowledge Systems on the Eve of Colonialism.” Additionally, he was the principal investigator for “SARIT: Enriching Digital Collections in Indology,” supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Bilateral Digital Humanities Program.

His publications include, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India (2006), which won a number of awards (the Coomaraswamy Prize from the Association of Asian Studies; the Lionel Trilling Award; the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division Award for Excellence in Literature, Language, & Linguistics, the Association of American Publishers; American Library Association award, Humanities: Language and Literature). His writings have been translated into half a dozen languages, including most recently Kritische Philologie: Essays zu Literatur, Sprache und Macht in Indien und Europa (2015). Among his edited volumes are Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia (University of California Press, 2003), Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia (Duke University Press, 2011), World Philology (Harvard University Press, 2015, with Benjamin Elman and Kevin Chang), and What China and India Once Were: The Pasts That May Shape the Global Future (Columbia University Press, 2018, with Benjamin Elman). A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics, the first in the series of historical sourcebooks on classical Indian thought that he is editing for Columbia University Press, was awarded the 2019 Friedrich-Weller-Preis of the Saxon Academy of Sciences, Leipzig.

He has supervised more than two dozen doctoral dissertations, and his former students hold appointments in philology, history, religion and comparative literature, at many major centers of South Asian Studies in the US and abroad.

In 2008, Pollock received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for significant contributions to humanistic inquiry, and in 2009, the President's Award for Sanskrit, from the Government of India. The following year the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, was conferred upon him. He is the first American to be so honored for academic accomplishment. In 2014, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (he resigned in 2021, in protest against the elimination of “philology” as a section speciality of the Academy), and in 2020, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.


A picture of Sheldon Pollock sitting on a desk. Credit: New York Times

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