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The Australian National University

South Asia Studies at the Australian National University (under maintenance)

The study of South Asia (primarily India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives) originated at the ANU in the 1950s, and a number of scholarly leaders, including A. L. Basham, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Ranajit Guha, Ravinder Kumar, D. A. Low, J. T. F. Jordens, J. W. de Jong, Peter Reeves, O. H. K. Spate, Kenneth McPherson and Robin Jeffrey have worked or studied here. ANU's long-standing commitment to South Asia goes back to the appointment of Professor A. L. Basham, author of The Wonder That Was India, in 1965. Interests in South Asia are spread across the university but are primarily concentrated in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

The establishment of the South Asia Research Institute, Research School of Asia and the Pacific, in 2012 continues to support research on South Asia at ANU.

Within the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, the Crawford School of Public Policy houses the Australia South Asia Research Centre (ASARC) under Professor Raghbendra Jha, who holds the Rajiv Gandhi Chair of South Asian Economics, and the Resource Management in Asia-Pacific (RMAP) Program, where Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt studies women in development, environmental sustainability, and natural resource management. The college's School of Culture, History and Language teaches Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu and Tibetan, as well as courses in South Asian culture and society, history, politics and religion. Scholars in this school, including Assa Doron, Peter Friedlander, Meera Ashar, Kirin Narayan, Brij Lal, John Powers, McComas Taylor, Barbara Nelson, Shameem Black, Gwendolyn Hyslop and Bina D’Costa (on leave), research language and literature, linguistics, anthropology, religion, history and politics. Other scholars in the college whose research interests include South Asia are Ramesh Thakur, Kaliappa Kalirajan and Dinuk Jayasuriya (Crawford), Nicholas Farrelly, Ian Hall and Paul Kenny (School of International, Political & Strategic Studies), and William Maley (Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy).

ANU academics with research interests in South Asia

Crawford School of Public Policy

Prema-chandra Athukorala (Arndt-Corden Division of Economics)
Development macroeconomics: capital flows and financial crises, structural adjustment and stabilisation reforms, determinants of economic growth. Trade and development: trade policy reforms, multinational enterprises and globalisation of production, patterns and determinants of trade flows, and international labour migration.

Stephen Howes (Development Policy Centre)
Aid policy, public finance in developing countries, international climate change policy.

Dinuk Jayasuriya (Development Policy Centre)
Post-conflict studies, Sri Lanka, Pacific development, evaluations (quantitative, qualitative), private sector

Raghbendra Jha (Australia South Asia Research Centre)
Macroeconomic problems of developing countries, optimal tax and price policy, Indian economic problems—in particular, poverty, undernutrition and financial sector reforms.

Kaliappa Kalirajan
Macroeconomic and trade policies and reform, poverty reduction, sources of growth, and stochastic frontier production function methodology

Andrew Kennedy (Policy and Governance Program)
Indian foreign policy; U.S.-India relations; technology and innovation

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt (Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program)
Women, gender and development; environmental sustainability; women's empowerment in relation to water and mining; communities' roles and livelihoods in natural resources, such as in large-scale and artisanal mining (, and the water and sanitation sectors (;;, and community-based natural resource management.

Ramesh Thakur (Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament)
Arms control, disarmament and international security issues.

School of Culture, History and Language

Meera Ashar (History)
Nation, Desh and Belonging; Identity and Selfhood in South Asia; Cultures of Learning; Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures; Colonial Western India

Bina D'Costa (Centre for International Governance & Justice, RegNet)
Peacebuilding, justice and reconciliation processes; human security and borders; gender and conflict; children and war; and the role of NGOS in social movements.

Assa Doron (Anthropology)
The anthropology of contemporary India, and South Asia and Southeast Asia more generally; development studies and contemporary health practices; urbanization; modernity, and identity politics; religion; tourism studies; postcolonial studies, ethnographic practice, diaspora studies.

Peter Friedlander (History)
Hindi-Urdu, language, literature, media studies, history, pedagogy Religion and society, Hinduism, Dalit Studies, Buddhist Studies

Brij Lal (History)
Contemporary Pacific Islands history; Fiji; comparative constitutionalism; plantation systems and labour history; Asian diaspora.

Gwendolyn Hyslop (Linguistics)
Tibeto-Burman languages, languages and linguistic prehistory of the Himalayas and South Asia, historical and areal linguistics, tone and tonogenesis, linguistic typology, the relationship between language, culture, and the mind.

Kirin Narayan (Anthropology)
Social life of narrative; ethnographic writing; ethnographic genres; expressive culture; oral traditions, folklore; gender; life stories; anthropology of religion; anthropology of creativity; South Asian diaspora.

Barbara Nelson (Literature, Language and Translation)
History of Buddhism in India; Buddhist texts in Sanskrit; translation; religion and politics in India; secularism. Co-editor of the blog South Asia Masala.

John Powers (Religion and Philosophy)
Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, Indian religions.

McComas Taylor (Literature, Language and Translation)
Sanskrit language and literature; the construction of truth in the Sanskritic episteme; the ideas of social division in Sanskrit narrative literature.

School of International, Political & Strategic Studies

Nicholas Farrelly (Department of Political and Social Change)
Thai and Burmese politics; social and cultural issues in mainland Southeast Asia; conflict and development in northeast India. With Andrew Walker he is the co-founder of the blog New Mandala .

Ian Hall (International Relations)
International relations theory, the history of international thought, diplomacy, international security and Indian foreign policy.

Paul Kenny (Political and Social Change)
Comparative politics; political order; regime change; state building; conflict; Patronage and corruption; Indian political development; politics of South/Southeast Asia; applied social network analysis.

Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy

William Maley (Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy)
Afghanistan, security, warfare, post-conflict reconstruction, refugees.

Regulatory Institutions Network

Alexander (Sandy) Gordon (Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, RegNet)
Security studies, intelligence, criminal and terrorist groups, transnational crime, policing and Australia–India relationship. Co-founder of the blog South Asia Masala.


Amin Saikal (Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies)
Politics, history, political economy and international relations of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Debjani Ganguly (Humanities Research Centre)
Postcolonial literary and historical studies and comparative/world literatures in the era of globalization; language politics in postcolonial India, dalit life stories, South Asian diasporic fiction, cultural histories of mixed race, and the globalization of Bollywood, the popular cinema from Bombay/Mumbai as creative industry.

Patrick Kilby (School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Humanities and the Arts)
Non-Governmental Organisations; empowerment and marginalisation; gender; managing development activities; south Asia, particularly India.

Zazie Bowen (School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Research School of Humanities & the Arts)
Children and childhood, education, play and personhood; patterns of play and subjectivity as young people from Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities negotiate educational, economic and social transformations in rural North India.

Chris Gregory (School of Archaeology & Anthropology, Research School of Humanities & the Arts)
The political economy and culture of rice-growing in central India as expressed in women's oral epics; kinship and marriage in central India; theories of gift exchange; commodities and money in comparative and historical context.

Library Holdings

The Library's collection reflects the long association of ANU with South Asian studies, with significant holdings of Indian history, politics, society, philosophy, religion, and Indian government publications; as well as Sanskrit, Hindi and Tibetan literature. There are smaller holdings of other South Asian languages, including Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Marathi...


ASARC Publications List [PDF, 60kB] (updated periodically)

The First Ten K R Narayanan Orations

RMAP Working Papers

Updated:  4 May 2016/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific /Page Contact: