Until his retirement in 2001, Nick Allen was for 25 years Lecturer/Reader in the Social Anthropology of South Asia at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford, and a Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. His D.Phil., based on twenty months fieldwork in East Nepal, focused on the mythology and oral traditions of a Tibeto-Burman ‘tribal’ community. Apart from Himalayan comparativism, he has written on the macro-history of kinship systems and on the French tradition in sociological thought (cf. his Categories and Classifications, Berghahn 2000). His main research interest in recent years, and particularly since retirement, has been Indo-European cultural comparativism, and in particular the common origins of the Sanskrit and ancient Greek epic traditions. One offshoot of this work has been an interest in the similarities between the biography of the Buddha and that of the Greek hero Odysseus.
PUBLICATIONS ON INDO-EUROPEAN COMPARATIVISM. For contextualisation see autobiographical sketch: From mountains to mythologies. Ethnos 68 (2003) : 271-284.
Abbreviations. JRAI = Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. JASO = Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford. JRAS = Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. SALG = South Asian Librarians’ Group.
1987 The ideology of the Indo-Europeans: Dumézil’s theory and the idea of a fourth function. Int. J. Moral and Social Studies 2(1): 23-39.
1991 Some gods of pre-Islamic Nuristan. Revue de l’histoire des religions 208(2): 141-168
1993 Arjuna and Odysseus: a comparative approach. SALG Newsletter 40:39-43.
1993 Debating Dumézil: recent studies in comparative mythology. JASO 24(2): 119-131.
1994 Primitive Classification: the argument and its validity. Pp. 40-65 in W S F Pickering and H Martins (eds) Debating Durkheim. London: Routledge. Revised version: chapter 2 in N.J. Allen Categories and classifications: Maussian reflections on the social. Oxford: Berghahn, 2000.
1996a The hero’s five relationships: a Proto-Indo-European story. Pp. 1-20 in J Leslie (ed) Myth and Myth-making: continuous evolution in Indian tradition. London: Curzon.
1996b Romulus and the fourth function. Pp. 13-36 in E C Polomé (ed) Indo-European religion after Dumézil (JIES Monograph Series 16). Washington: Institute for the Study of Man.
1996c Homer’s simile, Vyasa’s story. Journal of Mediterranean Studies 6 (2): 206-18.
1997 Why did Odysseus become a horse? JASO 26 [for 1995](2): 143-154.
1998a The Indo-European prehistory of yoga. International journal of Hindu studies 2: 1-20.
1998b The category of substance: a Maussian theme revisited. Pp. 175-191 in W James and N J Allen (eds.) Marcel Mauss: a centenary tribute. Oxford: Berghahn.
1998c Varnas, colours and functions: expanding Dumézil’s schema. Z. für Religionswissenschaft 6: 163-177.
1998d Cúchulainn in the light of the Mahâbhârata and the Odyssey. In E Lyle (ed) Cosmos 14 : 51-6.
1999a Hinduism as Indo-European: cultural comparativism and political sensitivities. Pp. 19-32 in Johannes Bronkhorst and Madhav M Deshpande (eds.) Aryan and non-aryan in South Asia: evidence, interpretation and ideology. Cambridge, Mass.: Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University.
1999b Arjuna and the second function: a Dumézilian crux. J. Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 9(3): 403-418.
1999c Hinduism, structuralism and Dumézil. Pp. 241-260 in E C Polomé (ed) Miscellanea Indo-Europea. [JI-ES Monograph No. 33.] Washington: Institute for the study of Man.
1999d Les crocodiles qui se transforment en nymphes. Ollodagus 13: 151-167.
2000a Argos and Hanuman: Odysseus’ dog in the light of the Mahabharata. J. Indo-European Studies 28(1-2):3-16.
2000b Cúchulainn’s women and some Indo-European comparisons. Emania 18: 57-64.
2000c Scripture and epic: a comparativist looks at the biography of the Buddha. Visvabharati Quarterly N.S. 9: 51-62.
2000d Imra, pentads and catastrophes. Ollodagos 14: 278-308.
2000e Reflections on Mauss and classification; Magic, religion and Indo-European ideology. Chapters 6 and 7 in N.J. Allen Categories and classifications: Maussian reflections on the social. Oxford: Berghahn.
2001 Athena and Durga: warrior goddesses in Greek and Sanskrit epic. Pp. 367-382 in S Deacy and A Villing (eds) Athena in the Classical World. Leiden: Brill.
2002a The stockmen and the disciples. J. Indo-European Studies 30: 27-40.
2002b Pénélope et Draupadî: la validité de la comparaison. Pp. 305-312 in A. Hurst and F. Létoublon (eds) La mythologie et l’Odyssée. Hommage à Gabriel Germain. Geneva: Droz.
2002c Mahabharata and Iliad: a common origin? Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Institute 83: 165-177.
2003 The Indra-Tullus comparison. In Indo-European Language and Culture: Essays in Memory of Edgar C. Polomé, part I, ed. B Drinka & J Salmons. General Linguistics 40 : 148-171.
2004 Dyaus and Bhīṣma, Zeus and Sarpedon: towards a history of the Indo-European sky god. Gaia: Revue interdisciplinaire sur la Grèce archaïque 8: 29-36.
2005 The articulation of time: some Indo-European comparisons. Cosmos 17/2 (for 2001): 163-178.
2005 Scripture and Epic: A Comparativist Looks at the Biographies of the Buddha and Odysseus. Indika Online – 2005.
2006 Thomas McEvilley: The Missing Dimension. Indika Online – 2006.
in press The close and the distant: a long-term perspective. To appear in G. Pfeffer ed ? title.
in press Asceticism in some Indo-European traditions. To appear in Studia Indo- Europaea, 2:
in press Bhisma and the Hesiodic Succession Myth. Int. J of Hindu Studies 7:
in press Hesiod’s Theogony in the light of Indo-European comparativism and the Mahabharata. (N.G. Politis Conference: Athens?)
in press Romulus et Bhishma: structures qui s’entrecroisent. To appear in Anthropologie et Sociétés
in press The Buddhist Wheel of Existence and two Greek comparisons. In Anthropology of the Indo-European World and Material Culture: 5th International Colloquium of Anthropology of the Indo-European World and Comparative Mythology.