Established in 2007, the Program in South Asian Studies offers students in any discipline the methodological and theoretical tools to study the political, economic, social and religious institutions of India and Pakistan.
SAS is committed to promoting a comprehensive understanding of the pre-modern and modern histories of these two states as well as of their contemporary institutions and relations with neighboring South Asian nations and the rest of the world. The program endeavors to provide a forum for student and faculty interactions, both social and intellectual and promotes South Asian cultural events.
The program supports learning and scholarship on the region through language instruction, innovative lecture series, workshops, conferences, cultural events, artistic performances, film screenings and educational activities open to faculty, students and the general public. The program offers a minor and a certificate that allows undergraduates to take courses in the humanities, social sciences and languages in topics as diverse as anthropology, economics, literature, history, religious studies and political science. The curriculum also covers language, the arts, oral traditions and performance media (including recitation, musical and dramatic performance, dance and film), as well as modern literature of the colonial and postcolonial periods.
Advanced proficiency in Hindi, Urdu or Sanskrit is a central goal of study, as is the ability to read literary works in that language. Students are encouraged to pursue courses and independent reading that will familiarize them with pertinent methods in the various disciplines (such as ethnographic theory, historiography, and cultural studies theory). Appropriate comparative work, on Asian and non-Asian cultures, is encouraged as well.
Students enrolled in the minor or certificate program should maintain a balance between courses in the humanities and those in the social sciences. The proposed course of study must be approved each term by the director. Students should also identify a faculty adviser from the South Asian Studies faculty in their area of specialization as early as possible.
Graduate students can participate in a monthly lunchtime seminar series in which they can share their work and receive feedback from their peers and faculty. They are also welcome to audit language classes and participate in the many monthly events.