South Asia Studies

South Asia Studies grows out of a community of interdisciplinary scholars in the humanities and social sciences that combines expertise in the histories, languages, literatures, arts, religions, ecologies, cities, and cultures of South Asia and its extensive overseas communities around the world. South Asia encompasses the cultures and peoples in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and the Maldives. UC Davis undergraduates can enroll in a range of courses on South Asia in the humanities, social sciences, cultural studies, and languages used in this region (Hindi/Urdu, Persian, Punjabi, and Arabic). Faculty have built South Asia Studies through a variety of initiatives, including Professor of History Sudipta Sen’s India at the Crossroads Endowed lecture series with the generous support of Mridula Udayagiri and Prasad Rampalli.  The Mellon “Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds” initiative was co-directed by Professor of Anthropology Smriti Srinivas and Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies Bettina Ng’weno. ME/SA is home to the Pioneering Punjabis Digital Archive launched by Assistant Professor of Middle East/South Asia Studies Nicole Ranganath. The archive documents the contributions of the Punjabi South Asian community in Northern California. It offers a window into the story of South Asian immigration from the Punjab region in North India to California since the turn of the twentieth century, and contains over 700 video interviews, speeches, diaries, photographs, articles, and letters in which Punjabi Americans share their life stories and contributions to California’s history.  The Punjabi Language and Culture Endowed Fund, together with two grants from the UC Office of the President, supported the launch of Elementary Punjabi courses offered online to students across the UC system beginning in January 2021.  Finally, the “South Asia without Borders” initiative organized by ME/SA and the “Religions of India” initiative coordinated by Religious Studies offer UC Davis students and the community more opportunities to learn about this dynamic region and its people.