Gabriela Nik. Ilieva, Clinical Professor of South Asian Studies

Coordinator, Hindi and Urdu Programs
Ph.D. 2000, University of Minnesota.

Office Address: Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies 50 Washington Square South New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 992-9623
Fax: (212) 995-4689

Areas of Research/Interest
gender and pragmatics in Hindi and Sanskrit, Medieval Indian poetics, historical Indo-Aryan linguistics, foreign language pedagogy

External Affiliations
President of the South Asian Language Teachers’ Association (2005-2009), Director of the South Asian Languages Database Project, National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA (20010-), Academic Director of the Hindi-Urdu and Arabic-Persian-Turkish Teacher Training Programs at NYU funded by the National Foreign Language Center, UMD (2008-), Taskforce member, STARTALK, National Foreign Language Center, UMD (2009).

I teach Hindi language courses, as well as Ancient Indian Literature and Modern South Asian Literature courses. My research focuses on the way language encodes certain socio-cultural meanings and, specifically, on the formulation of gender (self/)identity in Hindi and Sanskrit literature as a dynamic process through which Indian social contexts are actively constructed by applying the so-called ‘doing/performing gender’ approach. My studies are also informed by pragmatics in its employment of inductive methodology in a rigorously empirical approach and by critical discourse analysis, in an effort to examine discourse structures that reproduce or challenge relations of power and dominance in Indian society. In addition, I have examined Medieval Indian poetics, namely the schools of alankaara (ornaments) and dhvani (suggested meaning) in comparison with Ancient Greek and Roman Rhetoric and some contemporary European literary theories. In the field of foreign language pedagogy, most recently I have been involved in teacher education and training in project- and standards-based instruction, curriculum design and use of authentic materials. I have also been working on examining the differences in the oral performance of Hindi and Urdu heritage and foreign language learners with focus on differentiated pedagogical approaches to teaching.


The Hymns of Apālā and Ghoṣā: Production of Gender Self-identity –Papers of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference, Eds. Petteri Koskikallio & Asko Parpola.  Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. 2010

Glasove I Bagri ot India – Damyan Yakov, Sofia, Bulgaria. 2008. (ISBN 978-954-527-402-2)

“Project-Based Learning of Hindi: Managing the Mixed-Abilities Classroom”. South Asia Language Technology and Pedagogy, vol.1. 2008

“Gender Aspects in Parenthood and Childhood in the Rig Veda”. 25 years Indology in Bulgaria. Sofia University Press. 2006

“Experiential Learning: Advanced Hindi Video Projects”.  Proceedings of Annual South Asian Languages Analysis Conference. 2004

“The Rig Vedic hymn as a Ritual Speech Event: 10.39 from a Pragmatic Perspective”.  Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Special Edition on Ritual, vol. 4, Number 2.  2003

“Common Representations of Women and Men in the Rig Veda”.South Asian Women Studies Journal, Vol.9, Number 1. 2003

“On the Origin of the Ergative”. Sagar, South Asian Research Journal, vol.4 #2. 1997

Language Teaching Materials and Websites