- Bachelor of Arts, Oberlin College, 1974
- Master of Arts, Princeton University, 1977
- Master of Arts, University of Chicago, 1980
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Chicago, 1983
Paula Richman, Emeritus William H Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions at Oberlin College, specializes in study of the Ramayana, a Hindu epic, and Tamil, a language spoken in south India and abroad by more than 75 million people. In addition to publishing two books on Tamil poetry, she recently completed a book on 20th century retellings of the Ramayana in Tamil. She is most widely known in India for three edited volumes: Many Ramayanas: Questioning Ramayanas; and Ramayana Stories in Modern South Asia. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Institute of India Studies.
Monographs on Tamil literature
- A Narrative and a Region: The Story of Rama and Sita in Tamil Country and Beyond. Forthcoming.
- Extraordinary Child: Poems from a South Indian Devotional Genre SHAPS Library of Translations. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997).
- Women, Branch Stories, and Religion Rhetoric in a Tamil Buddhist Text. South Asia Series, No. 12. Syracuse: Maxwell School, Syracuse University Press, 1988.
Edited Volumes on the Ramayana Tradition
- Ramayana Stories in Modern South India: An Anthology. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008).
- Questioning Ramayanas: A South Asian Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press and Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2000.
- Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Articles on Ramayana Tradition in the Indian Diaspora
- "'We Don't Change It, We Make it Applicable:' Ramlila in Trinidad." The Drama Review: the Journal of Performance Studies, 54:1 (T205) Winter 2010, pp. 61-89.
- "Ways of Celebrating Ram's Birth: Ramayana Week in Durban, South Africa." Religions of South Asia. 2:2 (2008): 109-133.
- "Ravana in London: The Theatrical Career of a Demon in the South Asian Diaspora." Cultural Dynamics. Issue on "Margins and Migrations" edited by Monisha Das Gupta. 19:2/3 (July/November 2007): 165-192.
- “A Tamil Modernist’s Account of India’s Past: Ram Raj, Chettiyar Raj, and British Raj.” The Journal of Asian Studies, 6:1 (February 2007), 35-62.
- “Kumudini’s Ramayana: A Woman’s View of Raghukul Politics.” Manushi: A Journal about Women and Society, 148 (May-June 2005): 22-29.
- “Shifting Terrain: Rama and Odysseus Meet on the London Stage.” Journal of Vaishnava Studies, (April 2004), pp. 189-199.
- "A Diaspora Ramayana in Southall, Greater London." The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 67:2 (1999): 35-57.