Samuel Wright

Samuel Wright

Assistant Professor

Samuel Wright is Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Languages division in the School of Arts and Sciences. His research areas include the history of philosophy, emotions, and temporality in South Asia. He engages with these areas across multiple early modern archives, especially those in Sanskrit and Bengali.

His first book, A Time of Novelty: logic, emotion, and intellectual life in early modern India, 1500-1700 C.E., is under contract with Oxford University Press. The book argues that a philosophical community emerged in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century India that crafted an intellectual life on the basis of intellectual and emotional responses to novelty in the discipline of logic-epistemology (nyāya-śāstra).

He is currently working on two projects: A study on metaphysics tentatively titled The Being of Thought and a study on scholar networks in early colonial India.

He completed his PhD from the University of Chicago (2014) and taught previously at Nalanda University. He serves on the advisory board for the Journal of South Asian Intellectual History.



A Time of Novelty: logic, emotion, and intellectual life in early modern India, 1500-1700 C.E. (New York: Oxford University Press) (under contract)


"Scholar Networks and the Manuscript Economy in Nyāya-śāstra in Early Colonial Bengal." Journal of Indian Philosophy (2020). OnlineFirst

“The Practice and Theory of Property in Seventeenth-Century Bengal.” Indian Economic and Social History Review vol. 54, no. 2 (2017): 147-182.

“Circulating Scholarship: A Note on a Sanskrit Letter from Bengal circa 1535 CE.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society vol. 27, no. 1 (2017): 83-91.

“History in the Abstract: 'Brahman-ness' and the Discipline of Nyāya in Seventeenth-Century Vārāṇasī.” Journal of Indian Philosophy vol. 44, no. 5 (2016): 1041-1069.

“From Praśasti to Political Culture: the Nadia Raj and Malla Dynasty in Seventeenth-Century Bengal.” Journal of Asian Studies vol. 73, no. 2 (2014): 397-418.

Book Chapters

“The Books of Religion: things, persons, and consumption practices in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Bengal.” In New Perspectives on Early Modern Bengal: Religion, Trade, and Politics, edited by Tilottama Mukherjee and Raziuddin Aquil with forward by P.J. Marshall, pp. 325-366. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers, 2020.

“Making Sense of Bhāṣā in Sanskrit: Radhamohan Thakkur’s Mahābhāvānusāriṇī-ṭīkā and Literary Culture in Early Eighteenth-Century Bengal.” In Texts and Traditions in Early Modern North India, edited by Tyler Williams, Anshu Malhotra, and John Stratton Hawley, pp. 77-98. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Other Writing

2020 (Sept)

'What is Language?' The Stepwell (Ahmedabad University Blog).

2020 (July)

'Existence and Being.' The Indian Philosophy Blog.

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