Welcome Message from Prof. Sunil Amrith

September 17, 2020

Long before I arrived at Yale, I admired the intellectual energy and the collegiality of the South Asian Studies Council. It is my privilege now to serve as its chair and to work with the Council’s exceptional staff, led by our Program Director, Kasturi Gupta. 

I am delighted this year to be working alongside Sarah Khan as Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Swapna Sharma as Language Program Director. As Singh Visiting Fellow for 2020-21, we are very pleased to welcome Akshaya Tankha, who will join us from the University of Toronto. Dr Tankha is an art historian working on modern and contemporary South Asian art and visual culture, with a focus on the relationship between aesthetics and politics, postcolonialism, and Indigeneity in India. We also warmly welcome Chitra Bajpai as our Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant, who is visiting from the Department of English and Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow. 

The South Asian Studies Council is committed to promoting a comprehensive understanding of historical and contemporary South Asia. Through our undergraduate major and our support for undergraduate and graduate research, we foster the study of South Asia on campus. Through our events, seminars, and grants, we facilitate faculty conversations on South Asia that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Working with other councils and the Macmillan Center, we seek to reimagine the geographical boundaries of South Asia, highlighting its connections with its neighboring regions and with the wider world. Through our fellowships, lectures, and talks, we bring the best scholars from around the world to Yale. And working with our partners in South Asia, we hope to strengthen Yale’s presence in the region. 

Even though we cannot gather in person, we have an exciting virtual program of events planned for this semester, a mix of live events as well as pre-recorded podcasts in conversation with authors of recent books. Our annual Gandhi Lecture will be delivered on October 2 by Professor Smriti Srinivas. The program for the semester is here, please join us! 

In these times of upheaval, distancing and division, we remain committed to the value of scholarly connection. We will continue to promote rigorous research and sustained intellectual exchange, while upholding the values of diversity and inclusion in all that we do. 

Sunil Amrith 

Renu and Anand Dhawan Professor of History 

Chair, South Asian Studies Council 

Yale University