Center for South Asian
Studies awarded new funds
to Thangka Painting. Women and Islam. Sacred Architecture of Asia.
Social and Political Movements in Modern India. These are just
a few of the interdisciplinary course offerings that come under
the umbrella of U.Va.'s Center
for South Asian Studies. A recent $600,000, three-year grant
from the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the center as
a Comprehensive National Resource Center, lifting it into the
top ranks of research institutions in South Asian studies in the
"This grant marks an important moment for our center, because
it recognizes almost 30 years of institutional commitment to South
Asian studies at the University of Virginia," said Daniel
Ehnbom, an art history professor and director of the center. "[It]
will allow us to expand many of our programs, particularly those
serving advanced graduate students."
in 1976, the Center for South Asian Studies aims to encourage
the study of South Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh,
Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. Part of Arts
& Sciences, the center encourages scholarship in a broad array
of departments, including anthropology, architecture, art history,
education, government and foreign affairs, history, Middle Eastern
languages and cultures, music, religious studies, sociology and
women's studies. The program offers more than 60 courses a semester.
center coordinates an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree program
in South Asian Studies and aids graduate students through federally
funded Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships, working with
students in various departments interested in becoming South Asia
collaborating with the center, in an effort to bring greater international
awareness throughout the curriculum, are the U.Va. School of Medicine,
the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and the
McIntire School of Commerce.
study is a major emphasis, with course offerings in Hindi, Pali,
Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, Tibetan and Urdu. The center is supporting
the use of new technologies in language study, especially the
use of compact discs and interactive videos.
center offers an intensive, summer course in the Tibetan language
in Charlottesville and a semester abroad in Jodhpur, India, that
combines language study (Hindi), Indian culture and civilization
and an independent research project. The center also supports
such student initiatives as the Indian Students Association, the
Pakistan Students League and the Society for the Promotion of
Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth.
Grounds, the center offers outreach programs to a broad array
of public educational institutions throughout Virginia. It sends
advanced graduate students to teach at other colleges in Virginia
via the Virginia Consortium for Asian Studies. It also offers
for-credit, in-service training tied to the state's Standards
of Learning for secondary school world geography teachers. And
it helps Virginia community colleges develop related curricula.
Bolstering all these efforts is a major library collection on
South Asia, including approximately 120,000 volumes and 1,000
serials from the U.S., Europe and South Asian countries. Worth
particular note is the comprehensive and extensively catalogued
Tibetan collection, one of the most important in the world.
U.Va. library also has a large collection of Indian videotapes,
including documentaries, art films, and popular movies from "Bollywood"
(as Bombay/Mumbai is often called) and elsewhere. India represents
the world's most productive film industry.
addition to its rich literary, artistic and religious heritage,
South Asia occupies an important geo-political and strategic place
on the globe, located as it is between East and West. India has
become a growing economic power, especially in various high-tech
sectors, with a population topping 1 billion, making it second
only to China. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's leader-in-exile who resides
in India, continues to be involved in international politics,
speaking publicly about concerns over the rights of Tibetans under
Chinese occupation. The nuclear competition between India and
Pakistan, and the recent coup in Pakistan are being watched worldwide.
Contributing to the center's successful efforts to increase funding
is the University's Virginia 2020 initiative, which is setting
long-range aspirations and priorities in international activities,
public service and outreach, the fine and performing arts, and
science and technology.