South Asia Studies at the Australian National University
South Asia Masala Blog
Driving knowledge and debate on South Asia
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 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. Today, interests in South Asia are spread across the university but are primarily concentrated in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.
Within the the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, the Crawford School of Economics and Government 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 Persian, as well as courses in South Asian society, politics and religion. Scholars and students in this school, including Richard Barz, Assa Doron, Jessica Hinchy, Brij Lal, John Powers, Aung Si and McComas Taylor, research language and literature, anthropology, religion and history. Other scholars devoted to the study of South Asia in the college are Sandy Gordon and William Maley (School of Regulation, Justice & Diplomacy) and Kate Sullivan (School of International, Political & Strategic Studies).
A fortnightly South Asia Seminar Series began in 2006.
The South Asia Studies Summer School, a week-long program of intensive research activities designed to bring together PhD and masters students working on South Asia throughout Australia, New Zealand and other countries, formed part of Asia Pacific Week in 2005–2006 and 2008–2010.
In November 2008, ANU co-convened (with University of Canberra) India Update: India in/and Australia and hosted two workshops: Cultural Politics of Disadvantaged Castes in India and Health, Culture and Religion in South Asia
In July 2009, Sandy Gordon and Kate Sullivan founded South Asia Masala, the latest in a series of weblogs hosted by the college. Focusing on the countries of South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), it takes an interdisciplinary approach that spans political, economic, cultural, social, developmental and strategic issues.
ANU academics with research interests in South Asia
Crawford School of Economics and Government
Prema-chandra Athukorala (Arndt-Corden Division of Economics)
Foreign trade and investment in economic transition in Vietnam; growth, employment and equity in Malaysia; international food safety standards and processed food exports from India and Thailand; and international product fragmentation and trade patterns.
Sambit Bhattacharyya (Australia South Asia Research Centre)
Comparative economic development, comparative politics, institutional economics, and poverty and nutrition with a special focus on India.
Aid policy, public finance in developing countries, international climate change policy.
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.
Macroeconomic and trade policies and reform, poverty reduction, sources of growth, and stochastic frontier production function methodology
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 (asmasiapacific.org), and the water and sanitation sectors (www.genderandwater.org; rspas.anu.edu.au/gwn; empoweringcommunities.anu.edu.au), and community-based natural resource management.
School of Culture, History and Language
Richard Barz (Literature, Language and Translation)
Hindi language and literature; analysis of the Islamic Avadhi terminology in Manjhan's Madhumalati; filming and editing video-taped description of the Himalayan Hindu pilgrimages to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri-Gomukh and Yamunotri in Uttaranchal, India.
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.
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.
Yogendra Yadav (Literature, Language and Translation)
Hindi and Urdu language and literature, the Indian cultural tradition in Fiji.
School of Regulation, Justice & Diplomacy
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.
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.
William Maley (Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy)
Afghanistan, security, warfare, post-conflict reconstruction, refugees.
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 .
Kate Sullivan (Department of International Relations)
India's status and identity in international society; Indian political thought and philosophy, Indian conceptualisations of the International, critical theory, and the Hindi language and its literature. Co-founder of the blog South Asia Masala.
Non-CollegeAmin 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.
Shakira Hussein (School of Sociology, Research School of Social Sciences)
Gender, Islam and Muslims in Australia.
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.
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)