Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College
Vasudha Paramasivan’s research interests lie in the premodern and early modern literary and religious cultures of North India, particularly Bhakti, or devotional literature. Her current research is centered on an epic poem, the Ramcaritmanas of Tulsidas. This 16th-century devotional text, which recounts the legend of the Hindu god Ram, has had an enormous impact on the literary and religious traditions of North India. Working with exegetical literature, hagiographies, and narrative poetry, her project aims to explore the complex sets of interactions among the various 19th-century literary cultures—sectarian, courtly, and colonial—that contributed to the emergence of the Ramcaritmanas as the principal text of Ram devotion. She is also interested in the enormous impact that the Ramcaritmanas exerted on the modern Hindi poetical imagination.
Vasudha has several publications, including “Yah Ayodhyā Vah Ayodhyā: Earthly and Cosmic Journeys in the Ānand Lahari,” “Captivity and Curiosity, The Question of Economic Independence for Women,” and “The Condition of Hindu Wives.”
She earned her PhD and MA in South and Southeast Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in economics and Asian studies from Mount Holyoke College.
Vasudha joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2011.