Associate Professor

Director of Graduate Studies

Contact Areas of Interest
Rao, Ajay
Department for the Study of Religion (St George) & Department of Historical Studies (UTM)
416-978-4785 (St George)
905-569-4494 (UTM)
  • Sanskrit intellectual history
  • Sanskrit literature and poetics
  • Religion and aesthetics
  • Encounters between Indo-Islamic and Sanskritic cultures
  • Cultural history of the Deccan


Ajay Rao is Associate Professor in the Department of Historical Studies and the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. His areas of research include Sanskrit intellectual history, Sanskrit literature, and religion in South India. His first book, Re-figuring the Ramayana as Literature: A History of Reception in Premodern India focused on traditional hermeneutics and the pre-colonial prehistory of the modern emergence of this epic as a foundational religious text. He is currently engaged in collaborative research projects on the “Age of Vedanta” and “Sultanate Sanskrit”.


  • RLG 205 Introduction to South Asian Religions
  • RLG 307 Indian Scholasticism
  • RLG 310 The Ramayana
  • RLG 361 Encounters Between Indo-Islamic and Hindu Cultures
  • RLG 3460 Sanskrit Readings 1
  • RLG 3461 Sanskrit Readings 2



Re-figuring the Ramayana as Theology: A History of Reception in Premodern India.Routledge.


“The Vaisnava Writings of a Saiva Intellectual.”Journal of Indian Philosophy.
“A New Perspective on the Royal Rama Cult at Vijayanagara.”South Asian Texts in History: Critical Engagements with Sheldon Pollock.Eds. Yigal Bronner, Whitney Cox, and Lawrence McCrea.U of Michigan P.25-44.
“Theologising the Inaugural Verse: Slesa Reading in Ramayana Commentary.”Journal of Hindu Studies1: 77-92.