Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and the College
Tyler Williams’s research has followed the development of writing in the North Indian vernaculars collectively known as Hindi during the 14th through 18th centuries, exploring the different types of text artifacts, such as notebooks, “books,” and holy scriptures, that proliferated during this period. His dissertation, “Sacred Sounds and Sacred Books: A History of Writing in Hindi,” analyzes the social, political, and intellectual contexts in which this book culture took shape. His current research project examines the role that merchant communities in early modern North India played in initiating and developing vernacular literary and religious culture. He also writes on issues of literary and visual aesthetics in early modern and contemporary India, with a particular interest in the relationship between vernacular or popular aesthetics and classical or elite aesthetics.
He recently co-edited Texts and Traditions in Early Modern North India, forthcoming from Oxford University Press India, and has published translations appearing in Bahuvacan and Hindustan Times Hindi.
Williams received a BA in South Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA and MPhil in Hindi literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, and a PhD in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies from Columbia University.