Indology and Comparative Indo-European Philology

Indology — or Indian studies — covers a wide range of subjects related to classical and modern languages, literatures and cultures of South Asia. The largest country in the region is India, but South Asia encompasses a large region stretching from Afghanistan in the northwest to Sri Lanka in the southeast, and from the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh east of Bhutan to the so-called Pepper Coast in southernmost India. The discipline of Indology at Uppsala University has both a classical and a modern specialization.

Indology as a subject at Uppsala university covers both Indology (classical and modern) and Comparative Indo-European philology. The main weight is attributed to Sanskrit (including Vedic) and Hindi, the modern language which unites the Indian federation. Hindi is spoken and understood in most parts of India, and uses the Devanagari writing system, which is also the system most commonly used in Sanskrit. Classical Sanskrit is considered as the cultural basis for Hinduism and Buddhism, and is also fundamental in the Indian traditions of belles lettres. Texts in Vedic belong to the oldest texts authored and preserved in the Indo-European language family. We also teach other South Asian languages, such as Urdu and Pali.

Research areas

In Uppsala, research within Indology is mainly concerned with literature in modern Hindi, from the 19th century until today, and, furthermore, classical bhakti texts in Neo-Indo-Aryan languages (especially nirguna bhakti), the history of religion and contemporary cultural history.

Within Comparative Indo-European Philology and the classical Indology, the Vedic language and Vedic literature takes center stage, and, furthermore, Tocharian, one of the Buddhist languages of Central Asia. We attribute great weight to international cooperation within research.

Research projects

Research within Hindi focuses on some contemporary Hindi authors. Other lines of research include the publication of a Hindustani-French-Latin dictionary from 1703, and regional literary traditions in the Hindi dialect Garhwali from the state of Uttarakhand. Another research project is concerned with contemporary Hindi theatre.

One project deals with the concept of ”liberating knowledge” in Vedanta traditions, with a mixture of sources in Sanskrit, Hindi, and English.

Within Comparative Indo-European Philology, research is ongoing in questions related to linguistic and cultural contact along the Silk Road in Buddhist Central Asia on the one hand, and on the other hand, about language, literary metaphors on conceptions of nature and landscapes in the oldest Vedic texts.

Work in the field is published, to a certain extent, in the series South Asian Studies.