Shankar Nair

Assistant Professor

Gibson Hall, S-363


  • Bachelor of Arts (BA), Harvard University
  • Master of Arts (MA), Harvard University
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Harvard University

Research Interests

Sufism and Islamic philosophy; Qur'anic exegesis; Hindu philosophy and theology; Muslim-Hindu interaction in South Asia; Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit literatures; South Asian religions

My general field of interest is the religious and intellectual history of the Indian subcontinent, particularly as it relates to broader traditions of Sufism and Islamic philosophy, Qur'anic exegesis, and Hindu philosophy and theology (especially Advaita Vedanta and other forms of Hindu non-dualism).

My research to date has centered upon Muslim-Hindu interactions and the encounter between Arabic, Sanskrit, and Persian intellectual cultures in early modern (Mughal) South Asia. Broadly speaking, I am interested in how Muslim and Hindu philosophers, theologians, and mystics interacted with one another, and the ways in which these figures conceptualized and responded to the fact of religious diversity in the world around them. I am especially interested in the phenomenon of translation, as we find numerous Sanskrit texts being translated into Persian and Arabic in this time period, often the result of teams of Muslim and Hindu scholars working in tandem. In my future research, I aim to trace the continuing history of such interactions into the colonial and modern periods.

A few of my other teaching and research interests include Sufi poetry and didactic literature, Sanskrit aesthetics and literary theory, Indian vernacular literatures, and classical Islamic ethics.