Amukha, volume 9

SAMP's Unique Urdu and Hindi Collections Support Teaching and Scholarship in Devotional Literature, Gender Studies, and the Arts

Prof. Robert Phillips, lecturer for the Program in South Asian Studies at Princeton University, teaches courses in Hindi-Urdu and South Asian Studies, and has used both South Asia Materials Project (SAMP) and CRL resources to support different research, writing, and teaching projects.

SAMP’s early twentieth-century Indian books project has been integral to Prof. Phillips’ research on Hindu devotional literature in Urdu, for which he relied upon SAMP holdings of tazkiras (poetic anthologies with biographies). CRL has digitized more than 3,800 titles in the early twentieth-century Indian books project, which began as a joint effort of the Government of India and the Library of Congress called the Microfilming of Indian Publications Project (MIPP). The tazkiras included in the project supported Prof. Phillips’ scholarship on the intersections between literature, society, and forms of devotional expression.

CRL resources have also been important to Prof. Phillips’ course development and classroom teaching activities, including digital resources for his class Gender and Performing Arts in South Asia. For example, accessing historical collections of thumri lyrics provides further opportunity for thinking about continuity and change in performance repertoires.

Prof. Phillips has also used CRL resources for his scholarship on Hindi authors, Hindi fiction, and Hindi literary journals during the 1950s-1970s. Accessing Āmukha in SAMP’s holdings offered an opportunity to incorporate the crucial - but often less-collected - genre of the little magazine into his research on Hindi modernism and a subsequent conference presentation.

“I found the intense and multifarious debates over Hindi literary modernism in these decades couldn’t be adequately contextualized without recourse to the historicized, dynamic, dialogic, and even material contexts sited in the literary periodicals and little magazines. Moreover, the instances of modernist art and visual codes regularly encountered in them generated additional layers and levels of connection with local and transnational modernist art and print culture practices. Having access to materials like these through SAMP has been invaluable," said Prof. Phillips.

Under the umbrella of CRL, SAMP acquires and maintains a collection of unique materials related to the study of South Asia. SAMP reviews proposals to digitize and microfilm unique or endangered materials for the study of South Asia on an annual basis and welcomes collaboration with scholars, libraries, and archives worldwide to support its mission.

Feb 2021