I am a lecturer in Hindi language and literature at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. I am also a fellow at the Australia India Institute and an Asia Literacy Ambassador for the Asia Education Foundation. I have previously taught at Cornell University, Syracuse University and at The University of Texas at Austin, where I received a PhD in Hindi language and literature in 2012. I study literature, folklore, and oral tradition of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, using material in Hindi, as well as in regional languages of this area of north India: Maithili, Angika, Bhojpuri, and Nepali.
As coordinator of La Trobe University’s Hindi language program, I oversee all levels of Hindi. We currently offer three years of instruction, including advanced classes in literature, cinema, and media. These classes are open to Hindi majors as well as students wishing to add Hindi to their undergraduate or PhD programs. I also teach classes (in English) on South Asian culture. Prospective PhD students who wish to undertake postgraduate work in Hindi or South Asian studies should contact me directly. Indian citizens are eligible to apply for the Shri Amitabh Bachchan Scholarship to support their studies.
I have lived for several years in India: recently and also during my childhood. (I also attended 6th grade at Felicity Hindu School, in Felicity, Trinidad.) I owe much to my background as a singer in both western and Indian traditions, and my work focuses on Hindi performance—be it the devotional poetry of the north-Indian countryside or performative aspects of key literary figures. My current book project—Renu Village: Hindi Literature and North Indian Oral Tradition—draws on fieldwork in North India, during which I studied Bihari song with the surviving members of the village performance troupe formed by the 20th-century Hindi author Phanishwarnath Renu.
Recently my interests in singing East and West joined when I performed the role of Yavakri in the world premiere of Vanraj Bhatia’s Mahabharat-based opera Agni Varsha in New York City. Plans for a Mumbai premiere are in the works.
Dr Ian Woolford
Asian Studies: Hindi Program
La Trobe University
Bundoora, VIC 3086