Whitney Cox

Whitney Cox

was born and educated in the United States (BA University of Virginia; MA, PhD University of Chicago). After working at the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia at the University of London, he is now Associate Professor at the University of Chicago.  

Cox’s research interests are in the fields of literary, cultural, and intellectual history of the medieval Indian subcontinent, with a special concentration on the Tamil country in the far south.  Proficient in both Sanskrit and Tamil, his work charts the multiple transformations of society, polity, and textual culture during the course of the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries of the common era.  Ranging over epigraphy, poetic theory, and Tantric ritual and theological writings in addition to his central concerns with literary production in both languages, Cox’s research is centrally concerned with the changing nature of philology itself, both as an object of historical study and as a critically self-reflexive means to understand the interpretative practices of the contemporary world.  As such, he engages with scholarship on social theory, the practice of critical editing, and the comparative Eurasian history of textuality and cultural mobility.

He is currently completing two book-length studies: Moonset on Sunrise Mountain: Politics, Poetry, and the Making of a South Indian King (to be submitted late 2013) and Modes of Philology in Late-Medieval South India, which is going to appear in the Philological Encounters series of the Zukunftsphilologie Program at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.

Some recent publications include:

“From source-criticism to intellectual history in the poetics of the medieval Tamil country.” in Whitney Cox and Vincenzo Vergiani, eds Bilingual Discourse and Cross-cultural Fertilisation: Sanskrit and Tamil in Medieval India. Collection Indologie no. 121.  Pondicherry: Institut Français de Pondichéry/École Française d’Extrême-Orient, 2013.
“Literary Register and Historical Consciousness in Kalhaṇa: A Hypothesis.” in Whitney Cox, ed. “Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī and its Inheritors.” Special issue of the Indian Economic and Social History Review, 50 (2), 2013.

“Bhoja’s Alternate Universe” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 22 (1), 2012, pp. 57-72.

“Saffron in the Rasam” in South Asian Texts in History: Critical Engagements With Sheldon Pollock. Edited by Yigal Bronner, Whitney Cox and Lawrence McCrea. Ann Arbor: Association of Asian Studies, 2011, pp. 177-201.

“Scribe and Script in the Cālukya West Deccan.” Indian Economic and Social History Review, 47 (1), 2010, pp. 1-28.