About the Department
The geographical region South Asia, which includes the Indian subcontinent and surrounding areas, may be studied as an academic area of focus from within a number of departments at the University of Chicago, which is one of the foremost centers of South Asian Studies in the world. Each Department has its own disciplinary focus: Anthropology, History, Political Science, Divinity, English, and so on.
The Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC) in the Division of the Humanities, founded in 1966, emphasizes a text-based approach. Historical, social, literary, and political issues of South Asia are addressed here through fine-grained textual analysis and studies of South Asian textual traditions. That is why training in South Asian languages - four years minimum for the language of concentration, two years minimum for the secondary language - is seen as an integral part of the department's program. The languages regularly taught in the department are:
The research interests of individual faculty members are described in the faculty pages of the Department's website.
In the University as a whole, especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions, there are a number of areas in South Asia of special focus, which involve at least one member of the SALC Department faculty. They include (with relevant languages):
- West Bengal and Bangladesh (Bangla)
- Buddhist Studies (Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese)
- The Deccan (Telugu)
- North India and Pakistan (Hindi, Urdu)
- Sanskrit Studies (including special attention to regional uses of Sanskrit)
- South India (Tamil, Telugu)
- Southeast Asia.
For the larger history of South Asian studies at the University, see South Asia at Chicago: Fifty Years of Scholarship.