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ILCAA Joint Research Project

Culture and Society in Early Modern South Asia: Cross-Linguistic Comparative Studies of Literary and Religious Texts



  • Early Modernity
  • Literature
  • Religions
  • Cross-cultural Contact


  • South Asia



About the Project

Project term: April, 2016–March, 2019

This project aims to reconsider the cultural history of South Asia from the 16th to the 18th century (recently called the “early modern” period), immediately preceding the British colonial period. By making comparisons and finding connections between literary and religious texts, such as courtly literature, heroic ballads, bhakti poems, and doctrinal/philosophical books, composed in different languages at different places in South Asia during the period, this project attempts to grasp the tendencies of literature and thought that characterized the early modern South Asian cultures. In addition, the project will arrive at a new understanding of the cultural networks that may have extended pan-regionally, crossing both political borders and the differences of religions and languages. The joint researchers will present papers on case studies of particular texts from a comparative perspective in meetings that will be held three times a year. These researchers are also expected to join the discussion on the social contexts and cultural networks behind the production and reception of those texts and to shed light on how different cultural strands are contained in one text. The results of this project will be published as an edited volume of essays contributed by the joint researchers.

Nobuhiro OTA, Project Coordinator (Associate Professor, ILCAA)



  • Nobuhiro OTA (ILCAA)


  • Nobuaki KONDO
  • Satoshi OGURA

Joint Researchers

  • Taigen HASHIMOTO
  • Katsuyuki IDA
  • Yuri ISHIDA
  • Chihiro KOISO
  • Hiroyuki MASHITA
  • Masahiko MITA
  • Yoshifumi MIZUNO
  • Hiroko NAGASAKI
  • Ayako NINOMIYA
  • Michihiro OGAWA
  • Satoshi OGURA
  • Kiyokazu OKITA
  • Kazuyo SAKAKI
  • Ikuko WADA



The 4th meeting

  • Date/Time: Sat 6 Oct 2018 13:30–17:30, Sun 7 Oct 2018 13:30–17:00
  • Venue: Hongo Satellite 5F
  • Language: English (6 Oct), Japanese (7 Oct)
  • 6 Oct
  • Workshop: Indic Texts and Islamicate Culture from the Ghaznavid to the Sultanate Periods
  • Language: English
  • Jointly sponsored by ILCAA Joint Research Project “Culture and Society in Early Modern South Asia: Cross-Linguistic Comparative Studies of Literary and Religious Texts”, Perso-Indica, Research Group Dynamism of Cultural Contact in South Asia
  • Noémie Verdon (Swiss National Science Foundation)
    “Al-Bīrūnī’s Kitāb Pātanğal and Kitāb Sānk: Methods and Strategies of Translation.”
    Satoshi OGURA (ILCAA)
    “Revisiting Sanskrit Epic-Purāṇic Elements in Rashīd al-Dīn’s History of India.”
    Fabrizio Speziale (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Center for South Asian Studies, Paris)
    “Šihāb al-Dīn Nāgawrī’s Šifā al-maraż: Reconsidering Greco-Arabic and Ayurvedic Theories of the Humours in 14th century India.”
    Kazuyo SASAKI (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Hokkaido Musashi Women’s College)
    “Ways for liberation: The early textual transmission of Indian traditional science in Persian works.”
    Michio YANO (Kyoto Sangyo University)
    General comments
  • 7 Oct
  • Language: Japanese
  • Masahiko MITA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Nagoya University)
    “Formats and Phraseology of Rajasthani Copper-Plate Charters: from the Early Medieval to the Late Medieval.”
    Hiroko NAGASAKI (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Osaka University)
    “The Hindi Bhakti literature in the 15-6 century: their thoughts and historical backgrounds.”

The 3rd meeting Report (Japanese)(290KB)

  • Date/Time: Mon 26 Mar 2018 14:00–19:00
  • Venue: Hongo Satellite 8F
  • Language: Japanese
  • Jointly sponsored by The Center for South Asian Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (FINDAS), Research Group “Dynamism of Cultural Contact in South Asia”
  • Chihiro KOISO (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Kanazawa Seiryo University)
    “What is Maharashtra dharma mentioned by Ramdas ?”
    Nobuaki KONDO (ILCAA)
    “Reception, Adaption and Translation of Persian Stories of Telling in South Asia”
    All members

The 2nd meeting Report (Japanese)(302KB)

  • Date/Time: Sat 14 Oct 2017 14:00–19:00
  • Venue: Hongo Satellite 8F
  • Language: Japanese
  • Katsuyuki IDA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Kanazawa University)
    “Mahanubhav Sect in 14th Century Northern Maharashtra”
    Satoshi OGURA (ILCAA)
    “Hagiographies of Kashmiri Rishis and Their Sectarian Tendencies”
    Yuri ISHIDA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Osaka University of Economics and Law)
    “The Thought of Ibn al-‘Arabī described in Shāh Walī Allāh’s Tafhīmāt Ilāhīya”

The 1st meeting Report (Japanese)(198KB)

  • Date/Time: Sun 11 Dec 2016 14:00–19:00
  • Venue: Hongo Satellite 8F
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Nobuhiro OTA (ILCAA)
    “Blurring Boundaries of Cultural / Literary Histories of Early Modern South Asia: A Perspective from Courtly Literature / Culture of the Mysore Kingdom”
    Kiyokazu OKITA (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Kyoto University)
    “Vaiṣṇava Perceptions of Muslim Authority in Early Modern South Asia: Based on Bengali Hagiographies of Caitanya”
    All members

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