Timeline of Research & Collaboration with South Asia

Since our 1890 founding, the University of Chicago has embraced a tradition of international exploration and collaboration.  Our scholars travel the world to connect with colleagues of every discipline, and UChicago draws international experts to teach and research on our own campus.

1913: Visit & lecture by Nobel Prizewinner Rabindranath Tagore at the University of Chicago

1936: University of Chicago alumnus, Dr. Clifford Manshardt, initiated the proposal to set up a school for professional Social Work in Mumbai. The Dorabji Tata School of Social Work was set up at Nagpada Neighbourhood House with Dr. Manshardt as its first Director.  Today the Tata Institute for Social Sciences has 4 campuses, 9 schools, 33 Centers, and 10 Research Facilities across India.

1949: Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, visit the University of Chicago.

1951: The Ford Foundation funded a Comparative Civilizations Project at UChicago.  The initial focus of the project was the study of India, and by the 1960s the Foundation supported such yearlong visiting faculty as M.N. Srinivas of the Delhi School of Economics and Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, former chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research.

1955: The Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS) was founded to coordinate South Asian studies on campus.

1956: South Asia has played a key role in the Divinity School ever since the arrival of Mircea Eliade, who took over the field of history of religions and made India the center of it.

1958: The South Asia Language and Area Center (SALAC) was founded at the University.

1965: The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC) was founded in the Division of the Humanities and regularly offers nine modern and two classical languages of South Asia.

1973 – 1981: Johannes Adrianus Bernardus van Buitenen, the George V. Bobrinskoy Professor of Sanskrit in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations led the translation of the critical edition of the Mahābhārata.

1983: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar received the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars."  He determined that stars with a mass greater than 1.4 times that of the sun -- now known as the "Chandrasekhar mass" -- must eventually collapse into an object of enormous density, today known as a black hole.

1985: Kathleen Morrison began conducting archaeological research in India in 1985, Mark Lycett joining her in 1988.  In three major projects, the Vijayanagara Metropolitan Survey, Early Historic Landscapes of the Tungabhadra Corridor, and Biodiversity as a Social Process: Paleoenvironments of Peninsular India, they have investigated the political ecology of southern India.

2001: UChicago Professor and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno joined an expedition led by Suresh Srivastava of the Geological Society of India and Ashok Sahni of Panjab University to uncover Rajasaurus narmadensis, the first fossil remains of a dinosaur found in India.

2008: Oxford University Press published a three-volume, career-spanning collection of the writings of Professors Emeriti of Political Science Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, titled Explaining Indian Democracy: A Fifty-Year Perspective.

2012:  A $1.5 million gift from India’s Ministry of Culture helped establish the Vivekananda Chair, a UChicago visiting professorship in Indian studies to build on the University’s strong ties to India.

2013: The announcement of the University's Center in Delhi.