Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Comparative Literature
Field of interest: Tamil Vaishnava (Alvar) poetry, South Indian performance, Women and Goddess traditions in India.
Archana has several projects under-development. One project is a translation and study of the Tiruviruttam, a 100 verse poem in Tamil by the great 9th century Indian mystic and poet, Satakopan-Nammalvar. Nammalvar was a master of a poetic form known as the antati, where the last word of every verse becomes the first word of the verse that immediately follows it. Thus the first word of a poem is also its last. This study and translation of the Tiruviruttam (A Hundred Measures of Time) is scheduled for publication in April 2014 from Penguin Classics. Another project is a collaborative translation project undertaken with Prof. Francis X.Clooney (Harvard University). Archana and Clooney are translating Nammalvar’s 1100 verse magnum opus, Tiruvaymoli. Attesting to its enormous significance, the Tiruvaymoli (lit. Sacred Speech) has been commented on almost continuously since the 12th century. Read more about this project and a sample translation here. A third project concerns the 19th century poet-saint, Natana Gopala Nayaki Svamikal (1843-1914), who lived in the southern Indian city of Madurai. He was a musician, composer, teacher, philosopher and poet, and is a revered figure for the Tamil Saurasthra community in Madurai.