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Dr. Thomas Hunter

$2,300.00 (raised so far)

About Dr. Thomas Hunter

Dr. Thomas Hunter passed away peacefully on September 20, 2022 in his home village in Bali. A former Lecturer in Sanskrit and South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia, he was an integral faculty member in the Department of Asian Studies for many years and one of the core members who developed courses featuring South and Southeast Asian content. He will be remembered for his scholarly rigour, enthusiasm, generosity and open-mindedness.

Dr. Hunter’s special area of interest was the relationship of the ancient literature of South Asia and the literature of ancient Java and Bali. He looked at the Indian “court epics”, called kāvya, that were composed in metrical Sanskrit and how they stimulated and influenced the development of the closely related kakawin literature of Java and Bali. Along with his writings, his courses at UBC inspired students to think about the deep cultural connections between South and Southeast Asia, and the larger continent of Asia. His survey course on Performing Arts in South and Southeast Asia was especially popular, earning him an Asian Studies Lecturer of the Year award in 2015.

In his last years of research, Dr. Hunter had been interested in the broader cultural and economic networks of the Indian Ocean, beginning with the period when Indian ideas about language, culture and society helped shape the early societies of Southeast Asia, extending through the periods of the Islamic trading states and colonization. His published work details the history of the relationship, focusing on the development of the Old Javanese language as a successful “cosmopolitan vernacular” language that has been a vehicle for cultural expression for over a millennium.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Dr. Hunter was a serious and lifelong practitioner of Indian Classical Music. A dedicated specialist of the sarod, he began his training in the instrumental and vocal traditions of the Seniya-Malhar lineage of Hindustani music in 1970 under Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Throughout his career, he generously gave training, inspiration, and encouragement to countless students at UBC and around the world interested in the traditional performing arts of South and Southeast Asia.

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The impact of your support

In honour of Dr. Hunter’s passion for South and Southeast Asian Studies and lifelong dedication to the performing arts, his students, family, friends and colleagues have created the Tom Hunter Memorial Fund. Your gift will pay tribute to Dr. Hunter’s life and career by supporting the Department of Asian Studies at UBC. Final decisions on the fund will be made in consultation with the family.

List of Donors
  • David Trasoff

  • Vidyut and Ashok Aklujkar

  • Sunil Kumar Bhatt

  • Anonymous Donation

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