Aditi Rao

Graduate Coordinator

I come to the great state of New Jersey off the heels of an undergraduate degree in Classics at Barnard College (2021, cum laude) where I primarily studied Greek and Sanskrit literature. My senior thesis, “A Tiger Comes to Mind: Meditations & Mediations at Border of Megasthenes’ Indica”, took its name and, in part, its frame, from a poem of Jorge Luis Borges wherein a hunter considers the various forms — real, fictive, and symbolic— the tiger he hunts after embodies. As such, my thesis examined the multiform existence of the border between the Seleucid East and the Mauryan West as articulated by the Greek historian Megasthenes while he was deployed at the court of Chandragupta Maurya.

In my research, I ground myself in the project of intellectual history which attends considerations of borders —their fabulations, translations, and afterlives—  extant in the historiographical corpora of both the Hellenistic and Indic worlds in the aftermath of Alexander’s campaigns. Given the fragmentary and sparse nature of these materials, I attempt to lean into projects of speculative and counterfactual history and always keep in mind the insight leant by comparative methods of global antiquity. An additional arm of my research engages with a tradition of South Asian intellectualism via Kautilya, but also Rabindranath Tagore and B.R. Ambedkar among others, and their pursuit of explicating India’s past against the grain of Mediterranean antiquity. Through this juncture, I hope to put pressure on and disrupt the notion of "(Proto) Indo-European" and its conceits. 

If you’re considering the pre-doctoral fellowship at Princeton, are curious about how to play catch up when you get the game of Classics late, or, like me, are still wondering what the game here is, drop me a line! 

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