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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

South Asian Studies

THE world is showing an increasing interest in South Asia, the hotspot of socio-cultural change and geopolitical tumult. Be it the threat to Pakistan's democracy, the rise and fall of India's Sensex, the ethnic political conflict in Sri Lanka or Burma's military junta - all eyes are fixed on the South Asian region. Social scientists, the world over, have expressed keen interest in studying South Asian affairs.Which in turn has led an increasing number of research centres to offer MA, MPhil and PhD degrees in South Asian Studies.

This provides the perfect opportunity for Indian social science students, since they can compete favourably with their international counterparts. Besides, students who have obtained PhDs in related fields from India can also find themselves lucrative jobs overseas.

South Asian studies comprise the academic study of the history, languages, and culture of the Indian subcontinent, and as such a subset of Asian studies. It is closely related to Indology, which primarily studies linguistic and cultural history through textual interpretation. It generally does not include modern governmental, socio-political or contemporary economic studies of the South Asian region.

This vast field often overlaps to some extent with many other areas of study, applying their techniques to the South Asian case. These include cultural or social anthropology, cultural studies, historical linguistics, philology, textual criticism, literary history, history, philosophies and the study of religions in South Asia. It also includes the study of South Asian sciences, arts and architecture.

Ashwin Parulkar, who completed an MA (creative writing) from Syracuse University, now intends to take courses on South Asia so that he could one day come back to India and do research. He states: "As a result of recent events, South Asia has caught the world's attention. South Asian studies is an intellectually stimulating area of research, taking courses on which will give me immense knowledge and specialisation in this part of the world."
Another mine of Information is the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET), a network promoting the research and education on South Asia in all faculties at Swedish

Some universities dealing with South Asian affairs are -

University of California at Berkeley -

University of Pennsylvania –

University of Toronto -

University of Michigan -

Cornell University -

Sunil Sharma


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