Central, Western and Inner Asia

Sarah Jacoby | Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Program Area(s):  Southern Asia; Central, Western and Inner Asia

Sarah Jacoby studies Asian Religions with a specialization in Tibetan Buddhism. She received her B.A. from Yale University, majoring in women's studies, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia's Department of Religious Studies. She joined Northwestern University in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. Her research interests include Indo-Tibetan Buddhist doctrine and ritual in practice, studies in gender and sexuality, Tibetan literature, autobiography studies, Buddhist revelation, the history of emotions, Buddhism in contemporary Tibet, and eastern Tibetan area studies. She is the co-chair of the Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Group at the American Academy of Religion. She is the author of Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (Columbia UP, 2014). She is the co-author of Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience (Oxford UP, 2014) and the co-editor of Buddhism Beyond the Monastery: Tantric Practices and Their Performers in Tibet and Himalayas (Brill, 2009).

Courses she teaches include “Introduction to Buddhism,” “Buddhism and Gender,” “Buddhist Auto/biography,” “Tibetan Religion and Culture,” “Theory and Methods in the Study of Religion,” “Religion, Sexuality, and Celibacy,” and “Feminist Theory and the Study of Religion.”

Rajeev Kinra | Assistant Professor, Department of History

Program Area(s):  Southern Asia; Central, Western and Inner Asia

Rajeev Kinra specializes in South Asian intellectual history, particularly in early modern north India. His research draws on several linguistic traditions (including Persian, Hindi-Urdu, and Sanskrit), and speaks to a number of related themes: literary and political culture; modes of cultural translation and religious dialogue; memory and historiography; literary periodization and canonicity; Orientalist constructions of the past; and the South Asian imperial imagination, from antiquity to the present. Many of these themes are explored in his dissertation, “Secretary-Poets in Mughal India and the Ethos of Persian: The Case of Chandar Bhan ‘Brahman’”, which examines the life, Persian writings, and cultural-historical milieu of the celebrated Mughal litterateur, Chandar Bhan ‘Brahman’—who rose from a provincial clerkship in seventeenth-century Punjab all the way to the rank of imperial Chief Secretary (mir munshi) during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan (the famous builder of the Taj Mahal, r. 1628-58). Each chapter treats some facet of Chandar Bhan’s writings and related historical or literary materials as a focal point from which to address matters of more general concern for our understanding of the long trajectory of Indo-Persian literary culture and history. In addition to review articles and opinion pieces, his current publications include “The World the Mughals Made,” an instructional manual chapter for the Longman’s Anthology of World Literature (edited by Sheldon Pollock), and he has three articles in preparation: on Dara Shukoh’s eclectic 17th-century cultural circle; on the framework of literary-historical periodicity in the Mughal poetics of taza-gu’i (“speaking the fresh/new”); and on the deep history of virtue and ethics as articulated in Indo-Persian secretarial culture.

Robert Linrothe | Associate Professor, Department of Art History

Program Area(s):  Eastern/Southeastern Asia; Southern Asia; Central, Western and Inner Asia

Robert Linrothe received a Ph. D. in Art History from the University of Chicago. In 2008-2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Through his field work, Prof. Linrothe has become a specialist in the Buddhist art of the Himalayas. He has concentrated on the pre-modern mural painting of Ladakh and Zangskar (Indian Himalayas) and the contemporary revival of monastic painting in Amdo (China, northeastern cultural Tibet).From 2002 – 2004, Prof. Linrothe served as the inaugural curator of Himalayan art at the Rubin Museum of Art [RMA] which opened to the public in October of 2004. During his tenure at RMA, Prof. Linrothe authored two catalogs to coincide with the museum's opening exhibitions: Paradise & Plumage: Chinese Connections in Tibetan Arhat Painting; and, with Jeff Watt, Demonic Divine: Himalayan Art and Beyond. A third, Holy Madness: Portraits of Tantric Siddhas was published in 2006. Recently, an essay on the early 17th century Central Tibetan paintings directed by Taranatha was published in Artibus Asiae, an article entitled "Skirting the Bodhisattva: Fabricating Visionary Art," appeared in the on-line journal, Etudes mongoles et siberiennes, centrasiatiques et tibetaines; an article on murals in Ladakh and Zangskar will be in the forthcoming (fall 2013) Archives of Asian Art, and an article on early photography in western Tibet will appear in summer of 2013 in Photography's Orientalism: New Essays on colonial Representations published by the Getty Research Institute. 

In February 2013, he presented a paper on petroglyphs in the western Himalaya, "Montane Metonyms: Ibex in/as Landscape" at the College Art Association annual conference in New York, and in April 2013 he presented research on an illuminated manuscript of 17th century Zangskar at the International Association of Ladakh Studies conference in Heidelberg. He is currently working with the Block Museum of Art and Rubin Museum of Art (New York) on an exhibition titled "Collecting Kashmir: its Buddhist Art and Legacy in Western Tibet and the West" opening in January 2015.

Ryan C. Platte | Associate Professor of Instruction, Department of Classics

Program Area(s):  Central, Western and Inner Asia

Ryan Platte earned his PhD from the University of Washington. His interests concern the history of language and poetic technique in Greek literature, while his research focuses principally on the Homeric corpus. This work privileges a linguistic approach to literary material and draws from the field of comparative Indo-European poetics. He has published on Greek lyric poetry and on epic, and has a book forthcoming on Indo-European influences on the treatment of horses and horsemanship in Homer.