South Asia Scholarship in Chicago

South Asia Scholarship in Chicago

Ample opportunities exist for South Asian scholars and scholarship on UChicago's Hyde Park campus. Current faculty, graduate programs, and resources make the University of Chicago one of the premier institutions for the study of South and Southeast Asia in the United States.

The South Asia Language and Area Center (SALAC) and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS)

Ranked among the world’s leading centers for South Asian Studies, the University of Chicago is home to the South Asia Language and Area Center (SALAC), founded in 1958, and the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), founded in 1955 to coordinate South Asian studies on campus. SALAC and COSAS sponsor a variety of activities including colloquia, workshops, conferences, public lectures, film series, cultural events, and other programs that promote understanding of the cultures and societies of South and Southeast Asia.

Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations

The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC) in the Division of the Humanities, founded in 1965, regularly offers nine modern and two classical languages of South Asia, which constitutes more regional language offerings by full-time professional instructors than at any other university outside of South Asia.  The SALC Department offers graduate and undergraduate programs with a focus on the study of the textual traditions of South Asia and the languages they use, as a basis for a fuller understanding of the civilizations of the Indian subcontinent and surrounding areas.  For over a century, research on Indian civilizations and history at the University of Chicago has been notably strong and our scholars are widely known and respected in India.  Scholars in the social sciences and humanities from Indian institutions have been short- and long-term visitors to the University and have participated in collaborative teaching and research.  Recent visitors include the historian Romila Thapar, the authors Gurcharan Das and Amit Chaudhuri, the cultural critical Ashis Nandy, the playwright Girish Karnad, literary scholar Harish Trivedi, and others.

South Asian studies engages sixty-two faculty in nineteen departments and five professional programs.

The Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professorship

In 2012, a $1.5 million gift from India’s Ministry of Culture helped establish a University of Chicago visiting professorship in Indian studies to build on the University’s strong ties to India. The Indian Ministry of Culture Vivekananda Visiting Professorship commemorates the legacy of the Hindu spiritual leader, Swami Vivekananda.  The Chair enriches the University’s renowned program for the study of the Indian subcontinent and further research and teaching of India’s history and culture.

Sir Christopher Bayly of Cambridge University, an expert on post-18th-century Indian history and British imperial history, will join the faculty of South Asian Languages and Civilizations for Spring Quarter of 2014 and 2015. David Shulman of Hebrew University, who studies the history, religion, poetry and languages of Southern India, will be in residence for Spring Quarter of 2016 and 2017.

South Asia Library Collection

The University library, in addition to its robust support for research in the sciences, holds the leading South Asia private collection in the United States and abroad and is the only US library to collect in all regional languages. Its South Asia strength rests not only on an outstanding collection of 703,500 volumes, 4,200 current serials, 4,600 audio-visuals, and 12,200 maps, but on the quality of the collection processing and accessibility. The Library also works with Indian institutions like the Roja Muthiah Research Library and the Adyar Library and Research Center in Madras and the Urdu Research Center in Hyderabad to digitalize materials for the global public, granting UChicago researchers access to Indian collections remotely.

For more information, please visit:

Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations
SALAC and COSAS
Vivekananda Chair
South Asia Library Collection