South Asia Studies

Bharatnatyam, a classical Indian dance, is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles, as seen here at a festival in Delhi.
"The Friendship of of the Tiger and the Boar," an acrylic on canvas painting by Gond tribal artist Jangarh Singh Shyam (1960-2001), c. 1989
"Bidis" (pronounced bee-dees), small hand-rolled cigarettes made of tobacco wrapped in tendu or temburni leaf, are popular in India, as seen here in production in Mysore.
Workers harvest silkworm cocoons in Bangalore to be sold at market.
Punjabi children pose for a Wellesley student's snapshot, offset by a mustard field in the background.
Hindi prayer flags

The South Asia Studies program is designed to acquaint students with the many facets of South Asian civilizations through an interdisciplinary study of the languages, literatures, histories, religions, arts, social and political institutions, and cultural patterns of South Asia.

South Asia is defined as the region including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the South Asian diaspora.

Wellesley faculty with research and teaching interests in South Asia, along with dynamic student groups, supplement the college's interdepartmental curriculum with a varied program of cultural and scholarly events, including film festivals, political panels, and visits by distinguished artists, writers, and public figures.

The South Asia Studies program is also active in helping students plan summer and academic year study abroad programs and internships, all of which contribute to proficiency in South Asian languages and understanding of South Asia, through its long history and traditions, as well as through its present and future adaptations to modernity.

About South Asia

Home to more than 20 percent of the world’s population, South Asia’s increasing importance for undergraduate study goes beyond its current demographic, economic and strategic significance.

It is the birthplace to an ancient and influential civilization.

It is the source of four world religions and home to the largest group of Muslims outside the Middle East.

Its artistic, lyric and story traditions have intersected with and influenced art, sculpture and architecture, poetry and prose, from Europe through Japan.

As one of the largest (and longest occupied) postcolonial regions, the Indian subcontinent has produced a large body of scholarship on the impact of colonialism on national identities, racial and sexual politics, ethnic violence, religious radicalism and linguistic and literary practice.