The Department of Telugu Studies came into existence in 1988, after an endowment made by the the Government of Andhra Pradesh on behalf of Telugu University, Hyderabad. Tikkana's chair was instituted on the Institute of Asian Studies in 1987 is named after a great Telugu poet of 13th century.
From 1988 to 1996 the Department was headed by Prof. S. Krishnamurthy, a former Head of the Telugu Department of Presidency college, Madras. He authored a book entitled Peddana's Concept of Poetry. This work for the first time brought out Peddana's poetry in relation to Srividya (the term used for mother worship - the Tantric way). His Nannaya Mahabharathamu - Purva Mimamsa got him his Ph.D. The author's perception is that the Mahabharata illustrates Vedic sacrifices in the form of Bharata story. During the eight years he worked in the Institute of Asian Studies he was engaged in writing the History of Telugu Literature in five volumes and completed two volumes. The first volume deals with pre-Nannaya and Nannaya periods and second with the age of Sivakavis and the age of Tikkana. He also translated Sankirtana Lakshanamu a Telugu text on hymnody into English under the title The Tunes of Divinity. All three texts have been published by the Institute of Asian Studies.
The Institute during the years 1994-95 has undertaken a project on an Encyclopaedia of Telugu Literature (in English) in six volumes. One of the main objectives of the project is to promote Telugu studies at the international level. The first volume is an introductory one to the historical, religious and literary sceen of Andhra. It contains 48 articles on various subjects including history, religion, language, literature and arts. These articles introduce to the reader the cultural heritage of Andhras as revealed through its literature. The classical literature till the Nayaka period is dealt in the Volume I, Part I which is in print. The second part of the first volume will deal with the modern period. The rest of the volumes will have the entries alphabetically arranged. The first volume is in print and expected to come out before the end of this year.
Prof. T. Koteswara Rao formerly professor and Emeritus Fellow of Sri Krishna Deva Raya University, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh was also a member of Central Sahitya Academy and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam book publication grant committee. He took charge of the department in 1997 and served for a year. He along with his two associates namely Dr.P. Gopichand and Dr. J.V. Satyavani, continue to complete the Encyclopaedia of Telugu Literature project.
Dr. P. Gopichand joined the Telugu Department in 1997 and contributed to the project. He was formerly a professor and head of the Telugu department, Thyagaraja College, Chennai. His Ph.D. thesis was on modern Telugu poetry. He is recognised as a short-story writer.
The other associate editor Dr. J.V. Satyavani is a product of the Madras Presidency College, and her research was on "A Linguistic Study of Peddana's Manu Caritra" for her Ph.D. She took upon the task of going through the articles submitted by scholars for the encyclopaedia supplemented them where ever necessary. She has published articles on subjects such as "The Epics, Linguistics and Comparative Philology".