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Faculty Fellow

Andrew Ollett

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations University of Chicago


Andrew Ollett studies the literary and intellectual traditions of South Asia, including works composed in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsha, and Kannada, mostly falling within the first millennium of the common era. Ollett's research has focused on the “question of language”: the availability and choice of certain languages for certain purposes, and the role of language in cultural production and change.

Currently Ollett is working with Sarah Pierce Taylor on an edition and translation The Way of the Poet-King (Kavirājamārgaṁ), a manual for composing literature in Kannada, one of the regional languages of south India. It was written in the 870s and hence is the oldest Kannada text to survive, apart from inscriptions. This project has been supported by an NEH “Scholarly Editions and Translations” grant. Ollett is preparing an edition and translation of another work of poetics, this one in Prakrit, called the Mirror of Ornaments (Alaṅkāradappaṇaṁ). Ollett's edition and translation of Līlāvaī, a romance in Prakrit verse composed around 800, will appear in the Murty Classical Library of India.

For more details on Ollett's research and publications, please visit his profile page at the University of Chicago.

Featured Project




This interdisciplinary collaboration examined the forms and intersecting histories of South Asian practices of knowledge, with a focus on the geographical and historical spread of cultural norms and technologies.

The Sanskrit word śāstra, from a verb meaning “to discipline, to govern,” supplies a blanket term for a vast and heterogeneous spectrum of Southern Asian texts and the social forms in which these have been propagated. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the very basis of South...