South Asian Studies

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College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Dean: Andrew Harris

South Asian Studies Program

Ethnics Studies Building, Room 411/Humanities Building, Room 437
Gitanjali Shahani, English, (415) 338-2119
Kasturi Ray, Women and Gender Studies, (415) 338-3128

Program Scope

South Asian studies is the focus of this minor. South Asia refers to Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. These countries are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The South Asian Studies minor is multidisciplinary and is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the culture, history, economics, and politics of South Asia and its diaspora.

The region of South Asia is a crucial area of study given its linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity (its traditions draw from Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and Christianity), its experience of British colonial rule and independence, its recent economic expansion and technological influence globally, and the widespread migration of South Asians over the last century. The study of South Asia thus offers students opportunities to explore pressing questions concerning colonialism and nationalism, political conflict and government, economic liberalization, cultural diversity and its expression in literature, art, and popular culture, and globalization.

The South Asian Studies minor is useful for students planning careers in education, social service, law, politics, government, business, media, and art, both nationally and internationally. It also prepares students for graduate study in a number of academic fields.

South Asian Studies Minor

The minor consists of 18 units; three courses are taken from the core curriculum, which give students a basic framework for South Asian studies. These courses fully concentrate on South Asia and/or the diaspora and provide students with a broad introduction to the history, culture, and politics of South Asia (one course each need to be taken from the clusters of “Culture of South Asia,” “History and Politics of South Asia,” and “South Asian Diaspora”).

The remaining units can be taken from the core curriculum or from a long list of electives. Elective courses provide the opportunity for more in-depth or topical and comparative study as well as the study of South Asia in relation to other regions of the world.

The minor is designed to give flexibility to students who can select from courses across disciplines, including Art, Asian American Studies, Economics, English, Ethnic Studies, History, Holistic Health, Humanities, International Business, International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, and Women’s Studies.

For more information, contact the program directors: Gitanjali Shahani ( or Kasturi Ray (


Select at least three courses (9-17 units) from the core according to the requirements indicated below. The core consists of three core areas identified as Culture of South Asia, History and Politics of South Asia, and South Asian Diaspora.

South Asian Studies, Minor — Minimum 18  units

Core (9 - 17 units)

Core Area 1: Culture of South Asia (3 - 6 units)

ART 502Asian Art: Special Areas (prerequisite of ART 205)3
HUM 535Classical South Asian Cultural Forms3
HUM 536Modern South Asian Cultural Forms3

Core Area 2: History and Politics of South Asia (3 - 8 units)

HIST 584India and the British Empire3
I R 326South and Southeast Asia Foreign Relations4
PLSI/I R 412South Asian Politics4
PLSI 415Politics of India4

Core Area 3: South Asian Diaspora (3 units)

AA S 540South Asians in the United States3
RRS 657South Asian Diaspora3

Electives (1 - 9 units)

Select any courses not completed in fulfillment of the core above
AA S 210History of Asians in the United States3
or AA S 510 Asian Americans in California
ART 504The Art and Architecture of Islam3
ART/HUM 205Asian Art History3
HIST 585India since Gandhi3
HIST 606History of Iran and Afghanistan 1500-Present3
HUM 366India's Gandhi3
HUM 375Biography of a City (Delhi)3
MUS 530Musics of the Middle East and India3
PHIL 509The Buddhist Tradition3
PLSI/I R 416Ethnicity and Nationalism4
SNSK 699Independent Study1-3