Thomas Trautmann

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Thomas R. Trautmann
Born(1940-05-27)May 27, 1940
OccupationScholar of ancient Indology, professor
Known forEditor of Comparative Studies in Society and History
Marcella Hauolilani Choy
(m. 1967)
Parent(s)Milton and Esther Florence (Trachte) Trautmann
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisKautilya and the Arthasastra: a Statistical Investigation of the Authorship and Evolution of the Text (1968)
Academic work
DisciplineAnthropology & history

Thomas Roger Trautmann is an American historian, cultural anthropologist and Professor Emeritus of History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is considered a leading expert on the Arthashastra, the ancient Hindu text on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy, written in Sanskrit. Trautmann has mentored many students during his tenure at the University of Michigan. His studies focus on Ancient India, the history of anthropology and other related subjects. Trautmann's work in Indology has been credited with illuminating the underlying economic philosophy that governed ancient Indian kinship. He has also written book-length studies on both Dravidian and American Indian kinship. His most recent study concerns the use of the elephant in Ancient India.

Trautmann began as an assistant professor in 1968, teaching his entire career at Ann Arbor until he was awarded emeritus status. Trautmann has served as director of the University of Michigan History Department, as well as head of the Center for South Asian Studies. From 1997 - 2006 he served as the editor of Comparative Studies in Society and History. He was honored with a festschrift in 2011. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, he completed his undergraduate work at Beloit College and holds a Ph.D. from the University of London[1] where he wrote his dissertation on the structure and composition of the Sanskrit text Arthasastra (published in book form in 1971).


  • Bryer, Anthony; Gough, Michael; Trautmann, Thomas R.; Young, L. K. (1969). Byzantium and the ancient east. Paul Hamlyn. ISBN 978-0-600-13943-0.
  • Trautmann, Thomas R. (1971). Kautilya and the Arthasastra: a statistical investigation of the authorship and evolution of the text. Leiden: BRILL. OCLC 576363603.
  • Trautmann, Thomas R. (1974). Kinship and History in South Asia. Ann Arbor: Center for South and Southeastern Asian Studies, University of Michigan. ISBN 978-0-88386-417-3.
  • Trautmann, Thomas R. (1981). Dravidian Kinship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-23703-1.
  • Trautmann, Thomas R. (1987). Lewis Henry Morgan and the Invention of Kinship. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06457-7.
  • Trautmann, Thomas R. (2008). Lewis Henry Morgan and the invention of kinship : with a new introduction and appendices by the author. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-6006-1.


Further reading[edit]

  • Bayly, C. A. (8 August 1997). "What language hath joined". The Times Literary Supplement. - review of 1997 work
  • Baskaran, S. Theordore (4–17 July 2009). "Kinship and Language". Frontline. 26 (14). - interview
  • Aryans and British India — a review by the Indian historian, D. N. Jha.