The current volume, which contains the presentations at a symposium sponsored by the South Asia Institute and the Department of Asian Studies of the University of Texas at Austin (February 4, 2006) is intended to advance the study of Asoka both as history and historical memory. The authors of these papers take as historically significant not only the "historical truth" of Asoka but also the ways in which Asoka presents himself and his political, nationalistic, and religious purposes by succeeding generations both in India and in other parts of Asia, especially within the expanding Buddhist communities and nations.
Patrick Olivelle is an Indologist. A philologist and scholar of Sanskrit Literature whose work has focused on asceticism, renunciation and the dharma, Olivelle has been Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin since 1991.
Olivelle was born in Sri Lanka. He received a B.A. (Honours) in 1972 from the University of Oxford, where he studied Sanskrit, Pali and Indian religions with Thomas Burrow and R.C. Zaehner. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 for a thesis containing the critical edition and translation of Yadava Prakasa's Yatidharmaprakasa under the supervision of Ludo Rocher. Between 1974 and 1991 Olivelle taught in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.