Interrogating South Asia

Anandi Rao
Comparative Literature
UC Irvine

This working group questions “South Asia” as a geographical boundary and as an epistemological framework. Given that it is an area studies discipline that emerged as a result of U.S. military and foreign policy decision-making in the wake of the post-Second World-War era, what does it mean to be working on South Asia or doing South Asian studies today? What kinds of relationalities – capitalist, regionalist, or intranational – does it proffer or obscure? What scholarly practices might we use to acknowledge India’s historical, hegemonic status within the field while also decentering it? With participants from five campuses and eight disciplines, this working group creates an interstitial space between and beyond our various disciplines. This space may, traditionally, have been defined as South Asian studies, but we hope that our programming pushes beyond that which is taken for granted. We seek out thematic and methodological connections in our work, through and beyond our shared interest in South Asia.

Photo: Florian Lang.