Indira Peterson

Indira Viswanathan Peterson is Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies at Mount Holyoke College. A leading scholar of classical Sanskrit and Tamil literature and Hinduism, she has published widely on South Indian literary, social and cultural history and performing arts, with a special focus on the Thanjavur region and the Tanjore court. Her 1989 book Poems to Siva: The Hymns of the Tamil saints, is the first substantial translation of the Tevaram collection of early Tamil devotional poetry to Siva, and the first study of the performance of the hymns at south Indian temples. Other major publications include Design and Rhetoric in a Sanskrit Court Epic: The Kiratarjuniya of Bharavi (2003), and, with architectural historian George Michell, The Great Temple at Thanjavur: A Thousand Years. 1010-2010 (2010). Peterson is co-editor, with Davesh Soneji, of Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in Modern South India (2008), a volume of critical essays on the history of south Indian classical music and dance. Nearing completion are two books:  Tanjore Renaissance: King Serfoji II and South Indian Modernity, a cultural and intellectual biography of the royal polymath Serfoji of Tanjore, and Drama, the Court and the Public in Early modern South India, a study of operatic drama at the Maratha court in 17th-18th-century Thanjavur.