South Asian Studies at top universities

Harvard's relative weakness in South Asian studies got me interested. So I look at Stanford, Cambridge (my original top 3), plus Oxford and U. Chicago. (These constitute the top 5 in Times Higher Education List for Humanities this year:


1. Stanford: in its School of Humanities and Sciences (, among non-western traditions, there is only "East Asian Languages and Cultures". Among its "Interdisciplinary Programs," there are "African and African American Studies", "Latin American Studies", "Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies." No specific Departments and Interdisciplinary Programs for Near Eastern or South Asian or Southeast Asian studies. There is a "Division of International, Comparative and Area Studies," which will be called "Stanford Global Studies" in Jan 2014, and under this construct there is South Asian Studies (among many other regions) ( which only have very few courses ( If this scan is correct, Stanford's South Asian studies is more relatively (among its own area studies programs) underwhelmed than Harvard.


2. For Cambridge, its School/Department structure puts what I have been calling Area Studies (as it turns out, it seems now to me that the universities I look at tend to call Area Studies as about the area's contemporary conditions, rather than mostly focused on the literary / textual traditions) under "Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies" ( with South Asian studies under "Middle Eastern" portion. Its Staff structure ( can be summarized in a table below:


  Main Teaching Staff Other Associates and Staff Total
Arabic and Persian Studies 11 8 19
Chinese Studies 12 7 19
Hebrew and Semitic Studies 6 6 12
Indian Studies 3 5 8
Japanese Studies 9 7 16
Korean Studies 1 1 2
Egyptology 2 1 3

This should be clear regarding relative weakness of Indian Studies even at Cambridge.


3. Oxford: the area of interest is under "Humanities" in the "Faculty of Oriental Studies". Its Faculty listings is in this link - In table form:


Sub-Faculty No. of Faculty Listed
Islamic World 62
Hebrew and Jewish Studies 30
Eastern Christianity 8
Egyptology and Ancient Near East 25
South and Inner Asia 27
Chinese Studies 28
Japanese Studies 21
Korean Studies 3

Interesting thing here is that Oxford's Faculty of Oriental Studies have just so much more faculty than Cambridge's Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. In Oxford's case, Islamic World (62) his bigger than East Asian studies (52), which is almost twice the size as "South and Inner Asia Studies" (27). Focus on Islamic world may have been driven by British Imperial history (ruling mostly Muslims in the Inter-War period)?


5. University of Chicago is kind of famous on the internet for South Asian studies because of the online dictionaries it has put up. It turns out looking at faculty numbers is quite a easy way to look at relative emphasis:

  No. Faculty Listed
South Asian Languages and Civilizations 20
East Asian Languages and Civilizations 43
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations 38

Also consistent that South Asian is relatively the weakest.


Conclusion: at top US and UK universities, South Asian Studies is generally much weaker (like half) than Near Eastern or East Asian Studies.

Write a comment

Comments: 1
  • #1

    seks telefon (Wednesday, 18 January 2017 23:43)