Dr. Edward Yazijian has been interested in South Asian religion and culture for more than 40 years. As a teen, he planned a short excursion to India but stayed for nine years. While there, he traveled extensively, learned modern and premodern Bengali and Hindi, including various regional dialects, and studied Sanskrit at a traditional school in Navadvip, West Bengal.

Dr. Yazijian is interested in premodern vernacular literature of North India and is currently working on a translation of the 16th century Bengali classic, Chandimangal, which will be published by Penguin India in 2015.

Experience in Asia

Yazijian lived in India for nine years, six of them in West Bengal. Additionally, he has lived and performed research in Bangladesh.


Name Title Description



Examination of various versions (text, film, television, etc.) of the Indian epic Ramayana with the intention of addressing the profound and long lasting influence this narrative has had on the religion, morals, culture, politics, and society of South and Southeast Asia.


South Asian Music & Pop Cltr

An introduction to the greatly diverse popular cultures of South Asia, including music, film, and art. Through listening, selected readings, films, and discussion, issues of religion, gender, politics, ethnic and regional identity, cultural property, globalization, and the effect of mass media on South Asian popular culture will be addressed.


Premodern Literature of India

Examination of several genres of literature of premodern India, including epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, Sanskrit classical works, and vernacular Bhakti and Sufi poetry. Religious themes will also be addressed while engaging with literary theory and criticism as practiced during these time periods.


Indian Philosophy

Survey of six orthodox and three heterodox schools including Advaita Vedanta, Yoga, Samkya, Mimamsa, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Early Buddhism, Jainism, and Ajivika Materialism. Comparative (East/West) analyses are explored.


Religions of the World

Important ideas and practices of selected major religions in historical and cultural context.


Hindu Cultures, Rel Worlds

Exploration of Hindu beliefs and practices with an emphasis on major religious themes that link classical traditions with popular piety.


Sufi Islam

The history, contemporary practices, and worldview of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. Following an overview of Islam and Sufism's development within the larger Islamic tradition, the course examines the way in which Sufi practitioners, practices, and institutions profoundly influenced the culture, religion, and politics of the world, especially in the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and North Africa.

  • Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS) Research Grant, The University of Chicago
  • Mellon Graduate Achievement Fellowship, The University of Chicago

Books, Articles and Reviews

  • 100 Songs of Hasan Raja, Dhaka: Pathak Shamabesh, 1999.
University of Chicago
University of Chicago
Syracuse University

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