Sonam Kachru Religious Studies

Sonam Kachru

Assistant Professor

Gibson Hall, S-366 


  • PhD, University of Chicago, Philosophy of Religions (2015)

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the history of philosophy, with special attention to the history of Buddhist philosophy in South Asia. Topics of particular interest to me include the philosophy of mind, action and philosophical anthropology. I believe the history of Buddhist philosophy in South Asia is best pursued keeping in view the long conversations of Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophers in South Asia, and also the importance of narrative thought for the history of ideas. I am currently working on two monographs. The first, entitled "More And Less Than Human: Towards a Natural History of 'Other Minds' in Indian Buddhism," offers a new interpretation of the Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu. The second, "Practices of Self in Antiquity: Between Athens and Pataliputra," offers a new account of the vocabularies and practices that, so I argue, constituted a connected climate of philosophical therapy in antiquity.


Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Buddhism
  • Buddhist Scholasticism 
  • Buddhist Philosophy in South Asia
  • Nirvana: Concept and Metaphor
  • Buddhism and Literature
  • Theory and Methods in Religious Studies
  • Thinking with Animals (A Seminar for Undergraduate Majors in Religious Studies)
  • On Polytheism, or All Things Shining (Freshman Seminar for Religious Studies Majors)

Selected Publications

Forthcoming. "After The Unsilence of the Birds: Remembering Aśvaghoṣa's Sundarī," Journal of Indian Philosophy.

"On Learning To Overhear The 'Vanishing Poet'," in Readings of Śāntideva’s Guide to Bodhisattva Practice (Bodhicaryāvatāra). Edited by Douglas Duckworth and Jonathan Gold. Columbia University Press. 2019.

"Who's Afraid of Non-Conceptuality? Rehabilitating Digṅāga's Distinction Between Perception and Thought," in Sellars and Buddhism: Freedom from Foundations. Edited by Jay Garfield. Routledge. 2019.

"Ratnakīrti And The Extent of Inner Space: An Essay on Yogācāra and the Threat of Genuine Solipsism," Sophia. 2019.

"Of Dwelling With, and Getting to Know: Or, What a Premodern Variety of Irony Can do for Contemporary Solidarity," The Indian Journal of Secularism. Volume 21, No. 4 (Jan-March), pages 42-73. 2018.

"Things You Wouldn't Think To Look For In One Place: A Quick Note On an All-Too-Brief Example of Life and Matter in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam ad 3.14c,"  Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 137, No. 4 (October-December): pp. 669-678. 2017.

"Provincializing Philosophy of Religions, and Beyond," Response to Kevin Schilbrack,Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto. Syndicate. August. 2017.

What is it Like to Become a Likeness of Oneself? Gestures of Light, Motion and Mind at the Surfaces of Representation.” Essays of the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin. 2015.

The Meaning of Love: Insights from Medieval South Asia.” Available online at the website of The History of Emotions: Insights into Research. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for Human Development, 2014.

“The Last Embrace of Color and Leaf: Introducing Asvaghosa's Disjunctive Style.” Almost Island, Special Issue: On Style. 2012.