Harshita Mruthinti Kamath
Visweswara Rao and Sita Koppaka Associate Professor
in Telugu Culture, Literature and History
Office: S-306b Callaway Center
Harshita Mruthinti Kamath earned her B.A. from Emory University, Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and Ph.D. from Emory University. Her research focuses on textual and performance traditions of the South Indian language of Telugu.
Dr. Kamath's monograph, Impersonations: The Artifice of Brahmin Masculinity in Kuchipudi Dance (University of California Press, 2019), analyzes gender impersonation in the South Indian dance form of Kuchipudi. Shifting across village, urban and transnational spaces, the book shows how normative ideals of gender and caste are maintained and interrogated through the embodied practice of impersonation by Kuchipudi brahmin men. The book is available through Luminos, University of California Press's Open Access publishing program.
Dr. Kamath completed the first English-language translation of the sixteenth-century classical Telugu text Parijatapaharanamu in consultation with Telugu scholar Velcheru Narayana Rao, retired professor of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University who was the first to hold the endowed Koppaka Professorship in 2015. The translation, titled Theft of a Tree, will be published in January 2022 as part of the Murty Classical Library of India, Harvard University Press.
Dr. Kamath has published peer-reviewed articles in Journal of the American Oriental Society (2021), South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies (2021), Fieldwork in Religion (2000), Indian Economic and Social History Review (2019), Journal of Hindu Studies (2019), and Journal of Asian American Studies (2006). Dr. Kamath is a founding member of the American Academy of Religion's Seminar in Intersectional Hindu Studies, and co-creator of the Critical Feminist Hindu Studies Collective. Her next research project focuses on the padams (short lyrical songs) of fifteenth-century Telugu poet Annamayya.
Dr. Kamath's research has been supported by grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies, Fulbright-Hays, American Association of University Women, and National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to joining the Emory faculty, Dr. Kamath was Assistant Professor of Religion at Middlebury College and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.