South Asian Studies
The minor in South Asian studies focuses on the interdisciplinary study of South Asia and its diaspora. It brings together the perspectives of various disciplines, from art history to philosophy, from economics to religion, to create a sustained curricular focus on South Asian life and culture.
South Asia comprises India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and reaches out to Afghanistan, Burma and Tibet. It is home to the world’s highest mountains and to enormous ecological diversity. It is also home to more than one-fifth of the world's population and hundreds of languages. South Asia is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and more than one-third of the world’s Muslim population resides there. It has rich traditions of art, music and dance, and is renowned for its fiction and film. As a major contributor to global culture and economics, South Asia occupies an important position for understanding colonialism, postcolonialism and geopolitics.
Six courses (24 credits)
- An introductory course with a focus on South Asia
- Three courses, one course from each category:
- the visual, literary or performing arts
- history, philosophy or religions
- social sciences
- One advanced seminar in any discipline that addresses South Asia
- One elective, which could be an additional course or a special studies in any of the above-mentioned areas
SAS 201 01 Mother-Goddess-Wife-Whore: Female Sexuality and Nationalism in South Asian Cinema
This course examines the relationship between female sexuality and nationalism in South Asian cinema, focusing on the crucial role that gender plays in the formation of postcolonial national identities, both on screen and beyond. We will also consider diverse forms of cinematic resistance, especially the work of directors who challenge gender norms. We will look at films from Bollywood and from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. We will also have guest lectures by South Asian activists and filmmakers.
SOC 327 Seminar: Global Migration in the 21st Century
This course provides an in-depth engagement with global migration. It covers such areas as theories of migration, the significance of global political economy and state policies across the world in shaping migration patterns and immigrant identities. Questions about imperialism, post-colonial conditions, nation-building/national borders, citizenship and the gendered racialization of immigration intersect as critical contexts for our discussions. Prerequisite: SOC 101. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required.
Study Abroad & Language Programs
Studying abroad in South Asia or studying a South Asian language are not required for the minor, but they are a great way to enrich your knowledge of the region. There are a number of study abroad programs available, as well as South Asian language courses taught at the Five Colleges.
S. Mona Ghosh Sinha Prize
This prize is awarded annually for the best academic paper written by a Smith undergraduate on a subject that concerns South Asia. Papers from any academic discipline are welcome. Students may submit no more than one paper for consideration in any given year.
Students should complete the information and submit a paper using this form by the deadline of 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
Winners are notified by the Dean of the College in writing and are announced on Commencement weekend at Last Chapel and at Convocation in the fall.
- Shuzhe Zhang ’23, “The Effect of Temperature on Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from India”
Advanced students in the South Asian Studies minor may arrange for special studies with faculty members. Topics and logistics are worked out with the designated faculty member and must be submitted to the department for approval.