participants working papers manuscripts
database

National Endowment for the Humanties Proposal

Substance and context Methods and objectives Work plan
History and duration      Data collection Product and dissemination
Project staff     Prosopography References
       Text Analysis  
Substance and Context
The two centuries before European colonialism established itself decisively in the Indian subcontinent (ca. 1550-1750) constitute one of the most innovative eras in Sanskrit intellectual history. Thinkers began to work across disciplines far more intensively than ever before, to produce new formulations of old problems, to employ a strikingly new discursive idiom and present their ideas in what were often new genres of scholarly writing. Concurrent with the spread of European power in the mid-eighteenth century, however, this dynamism began to diminish. By the end of the century, the tradition of Sanskrit systematic thought-which for two millennia or more constituted one of the most remarkable cultural formations in world history-had more or less vanished as a force in shaping Indian intellectual life, to be replaced by other kinds of knowledge based on different principles of knowing and acting in the world.
In these two phases of history lie the core issues of this research project: the nature of the "knowledge systems" or scholarly disciplines in India on the eve of colonial rule, and the fact of their decline in the face of the new epistemological and social regime of European modernity. In order to understand these developments, contributors to the Knowledge Systems Project will undertake four linked tasks: inventory the intellectual production in seven disciplines during this period; collect unpublished manuscripts and documents from archives in South Asia; create a bibliographical and prosopographical database derived from printed and manuscript sources; study selected Sanskrit works according to a uniform analytical matrix. The results will be collected in a book that will be the first to offer an account of the Sanskrit disciplines and the intellectuals who produced them at the moment both were about to be transformed utterly.
Modern scholarship is silent on just about everything concerning the two central problematics of this project. We do not understand how to account for what appears to have been an explosion of intellectual production in Sanskrit in the seventeenth century. We have no acceptable account of the salient scholarly thematics of the period for individual disciplines, let alone across them; or of the key contributions of the major thinkers, the dominant modes of argument, the criteria of judgment. We know little of the conversations and controversies within and across fields. We have no clear understanding of the personal, educational, or social histories of the intellectuals, particularly of the "groups, networks, and rivalries" that appear to function as structuring principles in the history of intellectual change viewed macroscopically (Collins 1998); or of patronage structures, institutional bases, or circuits of intellectual exchange across the subcontinent.
What is an equally serious lack, we have no useful analysis of the boundaries of scholarship in early-modern India. Language, sometimes correlating with social status, clearly marked one limit. Sanskrit continued to be used exclusively in such major disciplines as language analysis (vyakarana), hermeneutics (mimamsa), logic-epistemology (nyaya ), moral-legal-political discourse (dharmasastra).The emerging regional languages were largely restricted to religious poetry, sometimes theology, and practical arts such as medicine. Persian (Urdu would not become a language of scholarship until the mid-nineteenth century) inhabited a separate knowledge sphere, where inspiration for ways of making sense of and inscribing the world derived from sources altogether different from those of Sanskrit (some exact sciences excepted, where both groups relied in part on Greek sources). Although Sanskrit and Persianate thinkers probably interacted more frequently than we now can demonstrate, few had a foot squarely planted in both domains. But, in fact, like the division of labor between the Sanskrit and the "vernacular intellectuals," or those who used regional languages, the history of the communication between Sanskrit and Persian scholarship largely remains to be written.
As poorly understood as the internal and external history of the late-precolonial Sanskrit knowledge systems themselves are the reasons for their demise in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Although political-economic changes of the sort found in Bengal at the time are sometimes identified as the critical factor, the decline in the quantity and quality of Sanskrit scholarly production in some places seems to have begun even before then, and elsewhere does not set in until later. Counter-tendencies, such as the attempt by the Peshwas in mid-eighteenth-century Maharashtra to revivify Sanskrit scholarship, need careful assessment (see for now Deshpande Forthcoming b). Other causal factors of a social nature, such as the diminishing salience of courtly society, or the loss of vitality of the Sanskrit educational system, are more difficult to evaluate, since so little sound scholarship is available. The transformed political landscape-in south India, Thanjavur was taken by Wellesley in 1799; in the north, Varanasi was ceded to the British in 1803; in the west, the Peshwas of Maharashtra were defeated in the course of the following decade-clearly needs to be taken into consideration, though again, the historiography of non-Mughal polities prior to the consolidation of the colonial order is thin.
Most pertinent is the intellectual sphere itself, and the kinds of exchanges that took place within and across the knowledge systems. But here, too, we are pretty much in the dark. Direct confrontation between Indian and European learning was as rare as that between Sanskrit and Persianate scholarship during the previous three centuries. Or better put, the confrontation was one-sided: As modernizing Europe attacked vociferously, Sanskrit India retreated in silence; no shastri ever bothered to answer the critique, made so painfully explicit by Macaulay and his compatriots in the century following our epoch. And when later thinkers such as Ram Mohan Roy did respond, it was from an already colonized, even westernized perspective. Forms of Sanskrit science without close analogy in the West, such as hermeneutics or language analysis, disappeared as creative modes of thought in the face of what were vaguely comparable European forms (in this case, historical textual criticism, on the one hand, and descriptive grammar on the other). 1  Other types of knowledge sharing a common ground for discourse with Europe, such as astral science (jyotisa)or life-science (ayurveda), briefly contended with western technical and conceptual difference before ceding authority to what was openly acknowledged to demonstrate greater empirical success (Minkowski Forthcoming; Tubb Ms.; Wujastyk 1998, chapter 7). Elsewhere, the engagement with European thought on the part of Sanskrit intellectuals simply did not occur-or not, at least, before they had ceased to be Sanskrit intellectuals. 2
It is no easy matter, then, to grasp the reasons at the level of the individual philosophical or scientific concept why Sanskrit knowledge at the end of the eighteenth century lost the vitality and confidence that had marked it in the preceding two centuries. Archival research may offer new documentary evidence on some of these questions. But the most important materials, which we possess in large quantities, and which form the primary data of this project, are the Sanskrit texts themselves in philosophy, literary theory, astral science, and the like. It is in the scholarly contributions to the Sanskrit disciplines-each of which has in fact a distinctive history of change of its own-that the most important clues must be sought. And these can be found only if the texts are systematically inventoried, historically ordered, and studied in a spirit attentive at once to the projects of the Sanskrit intellectuals, and the nascent order of European knowledge by which their own was about to be eclipsed.
Stressing the historical fact of the victory of western learning indicates the importance this project gives to a comparative intellectual history of Europe and India. Though this cannot be something the project directly addresses, it forms essential background. In these two worlds, systematic thought had run along a largely parallel course for some two millennia, until the seventeenth century. Even into the eighteenth, points of comparability can be found. Despite their innovations, European thinkers typically saw themselves "not as bringing about totally new states of affairs but as restoring or purifying old ones" (Shapin 1996: 3). Many forms of archaic thought continued to assert themselves not only in the few well-known instances (astronomy-astrology, chemistry-alchemy) but across the disciplines. Such production of the new coupled with a persistence of the old is common to seventeenth-century India, too. A renewal of the Sanskrit disciplines is attested to not only by the sheer quantity of works produced (itself perhaps something of an artifact of preservation) but by such things as a new historicality that came to shape the very exposition of knowledge, and occasionally-in a sort of Indian version of the Querelle des anciens et des modernes-even its evaluation (so that knowledge was now sometimes held to be better because it was new). At the same time, archaic postulates and procedures continued to inform scholarly discussion; the authority of past masters also continued largely unchallenged, however much their ideas may have been re-evaluated or reformulated, as had long been the case. Novelty and predictability both are illustrated in a new genre, the kaustubha (so called after a mythic jewel retrieved from the heavenly ocean), which in its name as well as in its discursive procedures represents true knowledge as something to be recovered through the revaluation of tradition, not its abandonment (Pollock 2000a).
Yet, it was at this historical juncture that a great divergence between the two traditions occurred, as a set of important changes in the production and dissemination of knowledge began to manifest themselves in late-Renaissance and early-Enlightenment Europe. This is a long familiar list, which includes new procedures in method (empiricism), new kinds of conceptualization (quantification), new attitudes toward the past (critical rationalism), new communicative codes (the intellectualized vernacular), new forms of sociality in a new public sphere, new institutional sites such as the royal academy and the increasingly autonomous university, new public intellectuals such as les philosophes, new publication formats such as the scholarly journal, and, last and not least, a pedagogical revolution. 3  Little that is comparable appears to have occurred in the world of the Sanskrit intellectuals. Consider again only the fundamental question of language. Outside the Persian sphere, as we have noted, Sanskrit remained the sole idiom for most major forms of systematic thought. No Bengali Descartes or Gujarati Bacon was concerned to teach the vernacular to speak philosophically. And like the language of learning, the material and social composition of the Sanskrit intellectual sphere remained largely unchanged. 4  
Although we may as yet be unable to specify exactly when or where or how, it is likely to have been such innovations in the European knowledge systems that, once colonialism made them the systems of India, more than anything else spelled defeat for the Indian forms. 5   However that may be, the very framing of a research question about the end of Sanskrit creative scholarship would not even be possible if European modernity had not in some way ended it. Accordingly, understanding the fate of Sanskrit knowledge requires, in some measure, understanding the character of its European counterpart.
That said, the focal point of this project remains Sanskrit disciplinary thought itself. For one thing, this was dominant in the intellectual world of seventeenth-century South Asia outside the Persianate order. For another, any actual intellectual historiography, whether comparative or connective, with European or any other systems, can only be undertaken on the basis of a secure understanding of what Sanskrit intellectuals were attempting to do and from within what kinds of institutional and social sites. Interpretations dominant in Western historical sociology and intellectual history, little changed from the time of their strongest formulation in Max Weber nearly a century ago, are based more on assumptions than actual assessment of the data. It is unsurprising that a magisterial new synthesis of global philosophical history ignores Sanskrit thought entirely after 1500-at the very moment of its new efflorescence (Collins 1998). Similarly, just what it was about this thought that made it so vulnerable to colonial modernity remains largely a matter of conjecture. The rise of new forms of Indian knowledge in the nineteenth century (typically in reaction to colonialism) has been a fertile question for scholarship during the past decade; in fact, it is hardly possible to imagine the present proposal in the absence of this influential work.6   But scholars of coloniality would be the first to admit that understanding how western knowledge won presupposes a far more deeply grounded historical and textual understanding of how Indian knowledge lost-which in turn requires a better understanding of what Indian knowledge was.
The present project is neither a lament for the absence of an Indian Renaissance or Enlightenment, nor the discovery of one that has been lying there all along unnoticed. It is instead an attempt to grasp at once the remarkable strengths of the Sanskrit disciplines and their remarkable weaknesses in the face of European colonial modernity. This is something we can only do by a systematic account and analysis of specific disciplines and thinkers, informed by a comparative consciousness of their historical fate.
History and Duration of the Project
The origins of this project are to be found in a new concern for early-modern intellectual history that members of the research group simultaneously and independently developed over the past few years.7   In order to explore this convergence and develop a more coherent approach to what is obviously a complex set of problems, a workshop was held in Chicago in late May, 2000. In attendance were M. Deshpande, L. McCrea, C. Minkowski, J. Nye, K. Preisendanz, G. Tubb, D. Wujastyk (all are further identified under "Project Staff"). Three scholars were unable to attend because of scheduling conflicts: Y. Bronner, G. Gerschheimer, M. Yano.
The key conceptual and methodological problems of the research topic were discussed at the May workshop, and on many of the questions sufficient agreement was reached to encourage the group to seek major outside funding to support further research . Given the magnitude of the historical period and the complexity of the materials, the project we have designed, as described in the section on "Methods and Research Objectives" below, is modest in its scope. The number of scholars capable of working with the texts in question is limited, and the constraints on financial resources available in the near term are considerable. If the current proposal and research activities prove successful, the group intends to continue the project after the three-year period either with additional NEH funding, or with new monies from alternative sources, such as the European Science Foundation (Strasbourg), the Society for South Asian Studies (London), or the Fund for the Reconstitution of Classical Studies (Kyoto). The objectives of the project in its later stages include in the first instance exploring the relationship among Sanskrit, vernacular, and Persianate knowledge systems with the assistance of an enlarged body of participants.
In addition to the actual research activities, the group plans to gather periodically for consultation. These meetings will not be funded through the grant, except for a mid-term gathering eighteen months into the project. We expect to locate funding for such consultations in the universities and research institutes to which project members are affiliated. The first such gathering will be held in Chicago March 22-25, 2001 at the time of the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, where a panel on the theme of the grant application will likely be held.
The Knowledge Systems Project aims gradually to establish linkages with other ongoing initiatives on early-modern knowledge beyond its specific area of concentration. Muzaffar Alam (Jawahar Lal Nehru U.), McCrea, and Pollock intend to inaugurate a seventeenth-century seminar and Workshop at the U. of Chicago in AY 2001-02, and at the same time to seek funding for expanding the research project to include networks of exchange among Persianate, vernacular, and Sanskrit intellectuals. Other related activities in which members are involved include Karin Preisendanz's project, "'Debate' in the Context of the History of Indian Medicine" (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2001 ff.), which concerns the transmission and intellectual reception of medical texts in the colonial period; and Gary Tubb's Working Group on the Exact Sciences and Indic Traditions at Columbia, which has extensively studied the history of astronomy in early eighteenth-century Jaipur. These initiative have already substantially influenced the conceptualization and design of the present project.
Project Staff
The project director is Sheldon Pollock, George V. Bobrinskoy Professor of Sanskrit and Indic Studies, U. of Chicago. He recently concluded an NEH-sponsored collaborative research project, "Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia" (1995-2000), which assembled seventeen scholars in three countries to analyze the histories of medieval and early-modern South Asian literature within the context of the larger cultural and social systems of which they formed part. The findings are now being published by the U. of California Press. Pollock is responsible for the overall design and execution of the Knowledge Systems Project, and he will edit the book of essays that results. He will identify relevant manuscript materials from the private collection of the Maharaja of Benaras (see below) for use by members of the project, and will contribute a chapter on legal-moral-political discourse (dharmasastra). In addition to periodic academic-year visits to India and ongoing consultation with contributors, he will devote two summer months in the years 2001-3 to work on the project.
The associate director of the project is Lawrence McCrea, postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, U. of Chicago. He will be responsible for setting up and maintaining the project's website and listserve. Although McCrea is relatively inexperienced in this area, he will be guided by two experts, Dominik Wujastyk, a member of the project team and founder of "Indology," the field's premier website, and James Nye, a consultant on the project, and a leading authority on information technology and the humanities. McCrea will also design and implement the prosopographical database and the "metadata envelopes" for the manuscript materials, and enter these data as materials are collected. He will assist Pollock in organizing the mid-term meeting, and in identifying additional sources of funding and preparing appropriate grant proposals. He will also collect and analyze materials concerning traditional hermeneutics, and will write a chapter on the subject for the book. McCrea will work 1/2 time (20 hrs./week) for 11.5 months during each year of the grant.
Additional members of the project team, with their areas of specialization, are:
Johannes Bronkhorst, Section de langues et civilisations orientales, Université de Lausanne; language analysis
Yigal Bronner, Dept. of Asian Studies, Tel-Aviv U., Israel; literary theory
Madhav Deshpande, Dept. of Asian Studies, U. of Michigan; language analysis
Jonardon Ganeri, Department of Philosophy, University of Nottingham; logic-epistemology
Jan Houben, Kern Institute, Faculty of Letters, Leiden U.; prayoga
Christopher Minkowski, Dept. of Asian Studies, Cornell U.; exact sciences; prayoga
Karin Preisendanz, Institute of South Asian, Tibetan, and Buddhist Studies, U. of Vienna, Austria; logic-epistemology
Gary Tubb, Dept. of Religion, Columbia U.; literary theory; exact sciences
Dominik Wujastyk, Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London; medicine
Michio Yano, Dept. of Cultural Studies, Kyoto Sangyo U.; exact sciences
Each of these scholars will collect manuscript materials in South Asia with support from the grant, provide analyses of published and unpublished Sanskrit texts, contribute to the prosopographical database, and draft or collaborate on drafting a chapter in the book. It is expected that project members will contribute 25% of their research time in each of the three years of the grant.
Other scholars who are familiar with the project will be able to contribute in a more limited fashion as consultants, being periodically requested to review the progress of the project, or to suggest additional lines of inquiry or additional sources for the acquisition of manuscripts. Foremost of these is James Nye, bibliographer for Southern Asia and Director of the South Asia Language and Area Center, U. of Chicago. Nye is familiar with a wide range of issues on information technology, and has worked closely in the past with colleagues at Adyar Library and Research Centre, Madras, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, and other repositories of materials important for this project. Others include Professor Gerdi Gerschheimer, École pratique des hautes études, Paris; and Professor Michio Yano, International Institute for Linguistic Sciences, Kyoto Sangyo U.
Methods and Research Objectives
The principal goal of this project is the reconstruction of the history of selected Sanskrit scholarly disciplines at four regional complexes in early-modern South Asia over a two-hundred year period. Such a reconstruction will require:
  1. the systematic survey of works in both printed and manuscript form (and including relevant documentary sources) pertaining to these disciplines, and, where possible, an account of their "publication" history and circulation
  2. the creation of a prosopographical database, which will provide the means for the reconstruction of the linkages among intellectuals and other aspects of their social existence
  3. the critical analysis of key texts in the different disciplines
The end product will be a book of individually authored (or, in some cases, co-authored) studies exploring the knowledge systems separately and in interaction. The wider perspective required for perceiving interactions will be made possible by frequent exchanges of work among participants via a project listserve, by periodic meetings at professional conventions, and most important, by a mid-term conference meant specifically to review findings to date and to refine methods. The precise nature of our research framework will necessarily evolve through empirical engagement with the materials; the general working model from which participants will start is offered below.
The almost total absence of organized knowledge about early-modern Indian knowledge systems noted earlier should not be taken to imply that the questions we are raising are unanswerable. It is true that the density of data enabling us to give an account of the structure of knowledge and its social organization in seventeenth-century Varanasi or Thanjavur comparable to the accounts given for seventeenth-century London or Paris (e.g., Darnton 1995, Chartier 1996) simply do not exist, and probably never did. The cultural archives of a documentary state did not vanish in India; they were never produced in the first place, in large part because, in contrast to the absolutist kingdoms of contemporaneous Europe, the Indian polity was unconcerned with the regulation of culture; indeed, the exchange of ideas was unimpeded. Other factors such (especially a climate inimical to preservation) account for the absence of personal records: Private letters or documents are of the utmost rarity even in the case of the greatest of seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century scholars (royal intellectuals like Jai Singh II of Jaipur being an exception that proves a rule)
Yet, evidence collected to date, unsystematic as such collection has been, suggests that many areas of obscurity can be illuminated. Personal linkages among the intellectuals as well as their educational histories can be reconstructed with considerable accuracy. The same holds true for many aspects of their social and institutional lives, especially for intellectuals associated with the Mughal court. As for circuits of communication, important scholarly texts appear to have circulated quickly across India as late as the mid-eighteenth century. Something of the "publication" history of works--their dissemination through manuscript copies-can be reconstructed by determining when and where they were copied (a recent demonstration of the method is offered in Cardona Forthcoming). Most important, the intellectual content of the works, their problematics, positions, and controversies, is wholly available to us for analysis in the large numbers of treatises that have been preserved.
It is crucial to develop methodologies appropriate to the kinds of materials we do in fact possess that can enhance our understanding of the internal and external world of the Sanskrit intellectuals of the period. Census, prosopography, and analysis do this, as further elucidation will show.
(1) Data Collection
The foremost requirement is a systematic census of published and unpublished texts to determine what was written from 1550-1750. These chronological boundaries, it should be stated at once, are themselves subject to revision as the appropriate temporal framework. As noted, each Sanskrit discipline has a history of change specific to it, and while large overall trends may be noticed, no one periodization will easily accommodate all the knowledge systems under analysis. A starting point of 1550 is chosen in recognition of the activities, in north India, of the logician Raghunatha Siromani (Navadvip),the leading new (navya ) scholar in the eyes of many seventeenth- and eighteenth-century intellectuals; and, in south India, of Appayya Diksita (Madurai), who profoundly influenced later scholarship in a variety of disciplines. An endpoint in 1750 is suggested by the approximate death-date of Nagesa Bhatta (Avadh),the last scholar to produce major new works on grammar, poetics, and law.
Again, the endpoint and the grounds for its selection require even more justification than the starting point. Thus the word "major" in the above sentence is intended to index two possible criteria in determining what constitutes the demise of Sanskrit knowledge systems. One is the falloff in the production of new and influential independent texts. It is, for example, difficult to point to any treatise on language analysis after 1750 that had an impact comparable to Nagesa Bhatta's work; in the case of law, the production of new works actually ceased altogether .The second criterion is implicit in the first, namely, the growing inability of works to find distribution through the subcontinental scholarly network, as had earlier been possible. Since this can be as much a function of the vitality of that network as of the quality of the intellectual contribution, we need to remain alert to the possibility of other historical factors at work, which may in turn invite us to reconsider the outer limit of the project. There is a complex dialectic at work in our temporal limits. We must establish boundaries around the project to begin work, yet at the same time we want to discover the actual history of Indian knowledge systems, and not predetermine it by the very methods of our research.
In addition to time-period, there are two other kinds of limits the project must impose on its survey of intellectual production if we are to achieve anything approaching real systematicity. We must select from among the various disciplines those that are central and that we can effectively and exhaustively examine, and we must narrow our geographical boundaries.
The census cannot inventory every text of every scholarly discipline. It is altogether unrealistic to think of undertaking such immense labor with the resources available to the project through the Endowment (in some cases this would duplicate work already done; see for example Pingree 1970- for the exact sciences). Instead, we will concentrate on the six disciplines that were foundational in early-modern intellectual history: language analysis, hermeneutics, logic-epistemology, literary theory, moral-political discourse, and astral science. Two additional areas of interest recommend themselves, medicine and Vedic ritualism (the latter in the form of descriptive manuals, prayogasastra). These occupy polar positions on the spectrum of comparability with European knowledge; early-modern readers of Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica would have found the Astangahrdaya familiar, but little would have prepared them for an account of a soma sacrifice. They will accordingly have particular salience for our implicit comparative project. Moreover, both disciplines but especially prayoga show a marked increase in production during this period.
The geographical limits will enable us to develop a sense of the local organization of knowledge production. Although the intellectuals themselves, like their works, in many cases did circulate transregionally, they typically followed localized patterns in such things as training and teaching. This may help account for the untheorized but unmistakable fact of regional specialization in the different disciplines (language analysis was cultivated especially in Maharashtra, logic-epistemology in Bengal). In addition, regional formations show diverse modes of political organization and hence of patronage structures. Courtly Thanjavur, for example, differed markedly from Varanasi with its apparently freelance intellectuals.
Four different regional complexes have accordingly been chosen to enable us to develop a deeper understanding of these patterns: Delhi/Varanasi; Mithila/Navadvip; Thanjavur/Madurai; Maharashtra (Rajgarh, Satara, Wai, Paithan). It is important to stress that the function of these sites is to provide frameworks of analysis in intellectual history: We are concerned, not with places as such, but with how intellectual production may have differed in different places. The prosopographical and metadata materials relating to the spatial ordering of the knowledge systems will be synthesized by Pollock and McCrea, and included as part of the introduction to the book. It is possible that geographical information systems can enable us to process these materials in new ways, and provide us with graphical representation of the regionalization of intellectual life. James Nye has offered his expertise for this component of the project.
In the most practical terms, the census will proceed first by intensive examination of manuscript catalogues specific to the various regional complexes (supplemented by whatever specialized accounts are available, e.g., Bhattacharya 1958). While some of the collections in question are of recent date and geographically eclectic, many had originally been shaped by regional realities such as script varieties, and some originated in older collections of local notables. The Sarasvati Mahal in Thanjavur and the manuscript repositories of Bengal (Rajshahi, for example) are cases in point. A census for each of the selected disciplines will be done for each regional complex by the project members responsible for the discipline in question.
In order to understand the publication history of individual works and develop a quantitatively grounded assessment of their popularity (something important for determining whether our current sense of what was historically important is historically accurate), and to enable the synchronic historiography of the project more generally, access to the unpublished materials of the New Catalogus Catalogorum is required. As the title announces, the NCC is a catalogue of several hundred South Asian and European Sanskrit manuscript catalogues (supplements are offered by Janert 1965 and Biswas 1998); at the same time it often provides important ancillary information on authors. Begun in 1949, publication of the NCC reached the half-way point in 1991, when it was suspended. The Knowledge Systems group has already proposed to the NEH-funded South Asia Microform Project that it consider undertaking the microfilming the 70,000 slips that remain unpublished. The new director of the NCC, Prof. Sinirudha Dash, is very much open to the idea, and SAMP has in principle agreed to do the work at the earliest possible date (see attached letter). In addition to making the materials available to our project, these measures will ensure the preservation of important and endangered research materials. The Indological Series Database, another NEH-funded project located at the U. of Chicago, will also be available for use in the near future. This will allow for efficient searching of published editions of texts in a database of some 25,000 records.
Important unpublished texts as revealed by the census will be collected, and funds for archival visits to South Asia for participants are built into the project budget. Although all members will be concentrating on particular regional collections and specific disciplines, they will procure materials for the team members working on other disciplines and at other regional complexes. This will maximize the efficiency of the archival visits. Well-established working relationships already exist between the University of Chicago and such major repositories as the Adyar Library and the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library (Madras), and the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Institute of.18 Indology (Ahmedabad). Other members of the Knowledge Systems group have established similar kinds of contacts with other libraries, which will benefit the project as a whole; Preisendanz, for example, has worked with the Nepal-German Manuscripts Preservation Project, Kathmandu, which has relevant holdings. Of potentially considerable importance is the private, hitherto uncataloged collection of Sanskrit texts and documents in the possession of the Maharaja of Varanasi. The U. of Chicago Library is soon to prepare a reciprocity agreement that would allow project members from the University to microfilm holdings in Varanasi (see attached letter).
We intend to make a selection of the unpublished works we collect on microfilm available on a project website, assuming permission to do so has been granted by the owner. A microfilm scanner purchased by the Digital South Asia Library project has been installed at Roja Muthiah Research Library in Madras as of January, 2000. This state-of-the-art machine converts film images to electronic images at a fast rate and with very sophisticated contrast adjustment to enhance legibility of images. It will be available for use in our project as time allows beyond the needs of the DSAL.
(2) Prosopography
The results of the census of manuscripts and printed editions should allow for a far more detailed prosopography of early-modern intellectuals than is currently available, and this will be essential for the reconstruction of personal and group histories, educational lineages, patronage linkages, and institutional and political affiliations. The design of our database will take account of such models as Philobiblon, the bio-bibliographical database of early texts produced in the Iberian Peninsula that has been developed at the U. of California, Berkeley. Thus we will include rubrics for place and date of birth and death (where known); father and other relatives; teachers and teacher's-teacher; works; patrons; travels; residences; authors and texts quoted, and related fields.
A systematic prosopographical analysis of this sort, which will be derived in the first instance from introductory or concluding authorial eulogies and colophons,has never been undertaken (one exception is for astral literature,Pingree 1981:123-130).Earlier scholarship on regional intellectual formations (Upadhyay 1983 for Varanasi;Raghavan 1952 or even Rao et al.1992 for Thanjavur)is inadequate for the level of detail and completeness required here. Carefully sifted,works devoted to regional traditions over the long term,such as Kunjunni Raja 1980,or detailed studies such as Gode 1953,can be of value.Other pertinent material outside of scholarly texts will also be collected.Judgments of Brahmanical assemblies on questions of dharma (vyavasthapatra)are especially valuable; many are available in vernacular-language histories of caste-ranking disputes,especially in Maharashtra (Deshpande Forthcoming a). Other materials include inscriptions recording endowments (particularly common in the south), and family histories such as the panji in eastern India (like the Vidvanmodatarangi by Ciranjiva Bhattacarya, Kaviraj 1982:88)or Sankara Bhatta's poem on his scholarly family of seventeenth-century Varanasi (Gadhivamsanuvarnanam).
(3) Text Analysis
Simultaneous with undertaking the survey of texts and the collection of prosopographical data, we will begin to examine and compare the structures of discourse in major works of the period. This analytic component will naturally feed back into data-collection, especially in terms of decisions about manuscripts to acquire. We must to some degree make an apriori choice about which scholars to concentrate on, since we cannot do everything. But by the same token, we must ensure that we remain open to learning what we do not already know by making a thoughtful selection for intensive study among the new writers or new texts that our manuscript census and search are likely to reveal.8  
Some division of disciplinary labor will be required for the text analysis. Team members specializing in the different knowledge areas (language analysis and so on) would work through the texts they consider important. But it may be anticipated that some crossover between disciplines and even within particular texts will be necessary; team members have a variety of interests and can contribute to more than one disciplinary analysis. At all events, we anticipate that working through many of these texts will require real collaborative effort. Some are massive in scope, and most are uncommonly difficult to understand because of the tangled history of scholarship out of which they emerge (a familiarity with which they presuppose), the complexity of the arguments they present, and the convoluted style in which many are written (imagine Heidegger to the second power).
Each text will be examined accordingly to the following analytical matrix:
The last two components of this analytical procedure merit particular comment. We are concerned not only with the surface of the text, so to speak (the arena of the first four components listed above), but with the evolving sociology of Indian knowledge and with the discursive structure of intellectual argument as such. We want to understand-to cite Randall Collins once more-the formation of "intellectual groups, master-pupil chains, contemporaneous rivalries," and any other sociological structures to which we can gain access through our sources, since we view these as basic conditions of interpretive validity. And we want to understand not only what intellectuals argued but how they argued, marshaled evidence, and evolved (as they appear to have done) ever more precise methods. For the sociality of the intellectuals, and the nature of the knowledge they produced, constitute the twin domain within which any eventual comparison with the vernacular, Persianate, or European knowledge order would be undertaken.
Two important outcomes of this overall analytical process are envisioned. First, contributors will be able to produce chapters on the major Sanskrit disciplines of the early-modern period that, while individually authored, will share a common goal of striving to identify the basic structure of knowledge for the period in question. Commitment to this shared model will produce a far more coherent account than is otherwise likely to be attained. Communication among contributors should also allow for a more precise and nuanced account of the particular thematics-many of which were of intense interest across disciplines in the period-than would be possible for any one scholar working in isolation. What is equally important, the collaboration will enable a higher-order survey of the intellectual field as a whole, both as a system of knowledge and a social formation. To develop this perspective we expect our mid-term conference of the group as a whole to be especially helpful.
Work Plan
Year 1
July - December, 2001 January - June, 2002
Year 2

July - December, 2002 January - June, 2003
Year 3

July - December, 2003 January - June, 2004
Final Product and Dissemination
We expect to submit the manuscript of Sanskrit Knowledge Systems on the Eve of Colonialism to a publisher in the fall of 2004. The U. of California Press has already expressed great enthusiasm for the project (see attached letter). Information collected in the course of archival visits, along with scanned copies of important manuscript materials, the prosopographical database, and, where appropriate, bibliographies and working papers of the project, will be made available on the Sanskrit Knowledge Systems website. As we construct the website we will explore the possibility of operating a listserve not just for project members but for any legitimate scholar who wishes to contribute to our ongoing discussions and deliberations. We view the creation of such a website making our materials available to the worldwide scholarly community and inviting their cooperation and suggestions, to be an important outcome of the project. Finally, the Knowledge Systems Project will contributive to a future connective history of vernacular -and Persian-language scholarship of the period, and to a comparative history of Indian and European modernity. It will also offer scholars of other non-Western areas a potential model for studying regional worlds of knowledge that colonialism transformed forever.
List of References for "Narrative Description"
Books and Articles
WWW


Notes
1. Only at the end of our period, and for the first time, did north Indian languages (Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati and the like) become objects of grammatical description at the hands of European scholars (the grammatical study of South Indian languages has a different history). We are not unaware of the irony that language analysis played a significant role in the creation of modern linguistics (historical-comparative, structural, and transformational). But the focus of this project is the fate of the Sanskrit tradition itself in South Asia. (back to the text)
2. This is true even in the domain of religion. A brief moment of pamphleteering in Sanskrit on questions of Christian missions occurs in the 1840s, but this was unique, and is explained by the fact that the pamphlets in question were responses to the one European critique of Hinduism that was actually published in Sanskrit (see Young 1981). (back to the text)
3. See Shapin 1996 on epistemology, Outram 1995 on sociality, Collins 1998 on the new institutional formations, Blair 1996 on vernacularization and the pedagogical revolution in science, Febvre and Martin 1990 on the rise of the learned journal. Higman 1997 provides a somewhat more enlarged periodization of the “threshold of modernity” in intellectual-historical terms. (back to the text)
4. Vernacular-language philology (lexicography, prosody, poetics) is sometimes found, more rarely philosophical theology. Modest innovations in the styles and practices of South Asian intellectuals did in fact occur (the new khandana or critique genre,and its doublet,the mandana or apologia; the krodapatra or patrika “leaflet” addressing a specific shastric problem), though no scholarship on them exists. (back to the text)
5. Material conditions, we should note, appear to have remained generally comparable in the two regions, for example in respect to incorporation into the growing world-system of trade, or levels of industrialization (cf. Bose 1990; Washbrook 1997; Ludden 1999). (back to the text)
6. See for instance Appadurai 1991, Ludden 1991, Arnold , ed. 1996; Baber 1996, Chatterjee, ed. 1995, Cohn 1996, Pearson 1995, Prakash 1999. (back to the text)
7. Published or forthcoming work written during this period that testifies to this conjuncture includes Deshpande Forthcoming a and b; Minkowski Forthcoming; Pollock 2000a, 2000b, and Forthcoming; Tubb Ms.; Wujastyk 1998. (back to the text)
8 To be sure, we already have a reasonably good sense of the major intellectuals of the period. These include:in vyakarana, Sesa Krsna, Bhattoji Diksita, Kaunda Bhatta, Nagesa; in mimamsa, Kamalakara, Sankara, Apadeva, Gaga, Khandadeva, Sambhu, Vasudeva Kiksita; in nyaya, Gadadhara, Jagadisa Tarkalankara, Visvanatha Pancanana, Mahadeva Punatambekara; in alankara, Kavikarnaputa, Rajacudaamani Kisita, Jagannatha, Visvesvara; in dharmasastra, Raghunandana Bhattacarya, Kamalakara, Kinakara (and Gaga), Nilakantha, Anantadeva, Mitramisra; in ayurveda; Nilakantha, Jyesthadeva, Sankara (all Kerala, 16th century); in jyotisa; Nityananda, Munisvara, Kamalakara, Fanganatha (Delhi/Varanasi, 17th century); Jayasimha, Jagannatha, Kevalrama (Jaipur 18th century). (back to the text)
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