Ajay Sinha

Ajay Sinha

Associate Professor of Art History

207 Art Building

Joined MHC: 1993


  • University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.
  • Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, M.A., B.A.

Specialization: Indian art; Asian art; Indian films

Ajay Sinha is the author of Imagining Architects: Creativity in the Religious Monuments of India (University of Delaware Press, 2000). His research has focused on ancient stone temples in the state of Karnataka in the southwest of India. Trained in the art and architecture of ancient India, he is interested in the visual means by which such religious structures gained their sacred potency. His research aims to recover an understanding of that potency through an investigation of the formal, intellectual, cultural, and historical intentions of the temples’ makers. Sinha has traveled on research grants to various parts of India and England. His current research project focuses on the visual culture of India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the cultural value of oil painting in it.

Sinha’s numerous articles and chapters on Indian art and film have appeared most recently in Towards a New Art History and Indian Art (2003), Art Journal, ArtIndia, and Contemporary Art in Baroda, and his book reviews have appeared in Artibus Asiae, Religious Studies Review, and the Journal of Asian Studies. He has organized and chaired conferences on Bollywood, Asian Temple Art, and Indian art and presented papers and lectures at dozens of conferences in the United States and abroad.

Presently, Sinha is co-curating an exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art from the Herwitz Collection, Peabody Essex Museum. He is a board member for Art and Archaeology, American Institute of Indian Studies (2001–2004).

Before coming to Mount Holyoke, Sinha was a lecturer at the Philadelphia Art Museum, Division of Education; Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India; and Sir Jamshedjee Jijibhoy School of Art, Bombay, India.

Sinha teaches the history of Asian art at various levels by conveying to his students how the history of the visual arts in India, China, Japan, and other Asian countries reflect each culture's concrete connections between past and present, memory and reality, religious and secular life. He has also taught seminars in Indian film.

Recently, Sinha received a $5,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support his project, "The Cultural Currency of Oil Painting in Early Modern India, 1780–1850."

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