South Asia Institute
South Asia Institute


Welcome to the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin!

With over 60 core and affiliated faculty members in more than 25 departments, UT Austin hosts the largest, longest standing South Asia program in the southwestern United States. South Asian studies at UT began when Sanskrit was first offered in 1949. In 1960, UT created the Center for Asian Studies with instruction in Hindi and Telugu. The South Asia Institute (SAI) grew out of this momentum in 2003 as part of a UT initiative to promote South Asian programs, especially those concerning contemporary issues, across the entire university and in the larger community.

As a National Resource Center for South Asia funded by a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education, SAI sponsors major conferences, scholarly symposia, and a bi-weekly South Asia Seminar. SAI also provides Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships to UT Austin students pursuing degrees relating to South Asia. Additionally, the Title VI grant provides resources for public engagement activities, including to K-12 schools, post-secondary institutions, business and civic organizations, and the Texas community at large. Another central mission supported by the Title VI grant is to promote the study of contemporary South Asian languages in cooperation with the Department of Asian Studies and the Hindi-Urdu Flagship Program. Bengali, Hindi, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Urdu are currently taught in the department.

SAI possesses an extensive breadth and depth of faculty expertise in the study of South Asia. Many universities offer broad competency on only one country in the region, often India. SAI offers wide geographic coverage in its inquiry into the region, especially in recent years through an expanding attention to Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as seen through the symposia, seminars, and conferences organized by SAI and the additional support dedicated to student and faculty research. SAI faculty also offer courses and conduct research on the entire range of South Asia history with experts located in different fields who examine ancient, medieval and modern periods and who frequently work together to reach an integrated temporal understanding of the region. Research and teaching at SAI benefits greatly from UT Austin’s South Asia library holdings, the largest in the southwestern United States. SAI faculty and students’ expertise lies in four major areas:

  • UT’s long-held and highly reputed strength in Religious Studies of the region, from the ancient period and through contemporary times – with newly invigorated depth of scholarship in the study of Islam;
  • dedication to unique approaches of investigation into the history of medieval and early modern South Asia;
  • new global geographies, alternative academic curricula, and innovative interdisciplinary inquiries that bridge media studies, the humanities, and the social sciences;
  • the Social Studies of South Asia with concentrated expertise in anthropology, sociology, economics, and political science that is particularly interested in how the social sciences might directly impact sustainable development practices, human rights, and policy formation.
As you explore this website, please get in touch if you have any questions!