Tag Archives: India

Three questions to Mark McClish

This is the third interview in a new series, entitled Three questions, in which scholars,  invited to participate in the SAW events, answer three questions about their research.

It is my honour to introduce Mark McClish, who will give a talk on the construction of fortifications in Classical South Asia at the workshop Cultures of Computation and Quantification (session of 8 February 2013).

Mark McClish is Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at Birmingham-Southern College. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in Asian Cultures and Languages with a specialization in Sanskrit and Indian Religions. His research focuses on the political and legal traditions of classical South Asia, known as arthaśāstra and dharmaśāstra, respectively. He has worked primarily with the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya (ca. 100 BCE – 100 CE), the sole surviving treatise on statecraft from the classical period and a repository for a wide array of information on contemporary political, economic, social, and cultural systems. He is interested in how the historical context of sources such as the Arthaśāstra shaped their development over time and in particular on how the political and legal theology of the orthodox Brāhmaṇa priesthood influenced the theory and practice of politics and law in the classical period.

Natalie Cernecka: How did you become interested in Sanskrit and Indian studies?
Mark McClish: I discovered my interest in Sanskrit and Indian Studies quite by accident. I had always been interested in the study of religion, but originally thought I wanted to work on early Christianity. After my first course on Hinduism with David Haberman, however, I turned to the study of India and never looked back. I was fascinated by the complexity and exuberance of the Hindu traditions. With his encouragement, I travelled to India right away and enrolled in Sanskrit courses immediately upon my return. With Sanskrit, it was love at first sight. I was introduced in graduate school to the tools and methods of philology and, through study with Patrick Olivelle, kindled an abiding interest in the classical Sanskrit legal and political literature. Continue reading

Seminar Orality and written documents

Seminar Orality and written documents will take place on Thursday 15 November 2012, from 9:30 to 17:30, in room 366A-Klimt of the Bâtiment Condorcet. Maps and directions can be found here.

The seminar is organised by Martha Cecilia Bustamante, Agathe Keller,  and Christine Proust, as part of the seminar series  History of Science, History of Text.

Presentation of the workshop b the organisers:

“The seminar’s aim is to consider the traces left by orality on scholarly documents transmitted to us in a written form, by asking the following questions:

Continue reading

SAW team members at the Fête de la science 2012

Several SAW team members will take part in the Fête de la science 2012, an annual national science week.

10 October, Agathe Keller and Alessandra Petrocchi will present South Indian mathematical riddles.

The same day, Cécile Michel, Robert Middeke-Conlin et Christine Proust will run a workshop Mathematics in Mesopotamia: scribe schools. The workshop participants will learn how to use Mesopotamian calculation methods and how to write on clay tables, just like the Mesopotamian scribes used to do.



During the Fête de la science 2012, two SAW team members, Cécile Michel and Christine Proust, run a workshop Mathematics in Mesopotamia: scribe schools, intended for secondary school pupils.

The participants learnt about the Mesopotamian writing system, learnt the basics of calculation using sexagesimal system, and wrote, with a stylus on fresh clay tablets, their names and multiplication tables.

Details are on the SPHERE website.

Two PhD students joining the SAW project in September 2012

Warm welcome to two PhD students who join the SAW project in September 2012.

Magali Dessagnes will be working, under supervision of Christine Proust, on history of collection of Mesopotamian sources. Magali has studied history, archeology, and history of science in Paris.

Alessandra Petrocchi will be doing her research project in history of mathematics in ancient and medieval Indic sources related to administrative contexts, under supervision of Agathe Keller. Alessandra has studied in Urbino, Bologna, and Cambridge.

The two new PhD students have something in common: they both did Ancient Greek and Latin at school, and both are accomplished musicians. Welcome to the team, Alessandra and Magali!

Doctoral and postdoctoral projects

Doctoral and postdoctoral research on topics related to the SAW project thematics is an integral part of our work.

In summer 2011, the SAW project advertised two scholarships: a doctoral scholarship in cuneiform mathematics related to administrative contexts (see call for applicationsappel d’offre) and a post-doctoral scholarship in mathematics and astronomy in  ancient China ( call for applicationsappel d’offre). Two young scholars were recruited: Robert Middeke-Conlin, who is interested in the mathematics for administrative purposes in the Old Babylonian period, and Zhu Yiwen, who works on Chinese sources.

In spring 2012, the SAW project advertised two doctoral scholarships: in history of mathematics in ancient and medieval Indic sources related to administrative contexts ( call for applicationsappel d’offre), and in history of archives, libraries, and collections linked to Mesopotamian sources and their use by historians ( call for applicationsappel d’offre).