no chair of Sanskrit in London

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Mon Nov 11 10:29:38 UTC 1996

For those who are not current with the latest Sanskrit news from
Bloomsbury, Prof. Clifford Wright has recently retired as professor of
Sanskrit at London University (SOAS).  The only other full-time position
in Sanskrit in London University is Dr Renate Soehnen-Thieme, who is
Senior Lecturer in Skt. at SOAS. 

This academic year is Dr Soehnen-Thieme's sabbatical, so there is nobody
on SOAS's full time staff to teach Sanskrit at all.  As a stop-gap
measure, people from other departments, as well as local outsiders, are
pooling their efforts and teaching for SOAS, as follows: 

first year: Anne Glazier and Richard Fox
second year: Rachel Dwyer and Julia Leslie
third year: Dominik Wujastyk

Discussions are underway at SOAS within the Department for South Asian
Studies (Head of Dept.: Dr Mike Hutt) about a successor for Prof. Wright,
but at the present time things do not look promising, to say the very
least.  SOAS is going through a period of severe belt-tightening, with
cuts of over twenty teaching positions being necessary to balance the
books, because of another round of government funding reductions.  When
any post is vacated at present, it is viewed as "natural wastage", and no
attempt is made to fill the post unless pressing reasons are evident for
doing so.

Due partly to the history of Sanskrit teaching at SOAS over the last
decades, it is not viewed within the institution as being an attractive or
high profile subject, or of as high a priority as, say, Japanese or Arabic
(where the money is), and it is therefore almost a foregone conclusion
that the professorial post will disappear (as happened at Cambridge, when
Prof.  Brough passed away).  Whether an appointment at a lower level will
be made is also in doubt.

The director of SOAS is
Sir Timothy Lankaster,
School of Oriental and African Studies,
Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square,
London WC1H OXG,

Best wishes,

Dominik Wujastyk               Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
email: d.wujastyk at          183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England
<URL:>                    FAX: 44 171 611 8545

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