South Asia Initiative

About Us

The South Asia Initiative is an independent inter-divisional effort  at UCSD to promote discussion and exchange about South Asia. We support research, bring speakers, and sponsor courses toward  an undergraduate minor in South Asian Studies. We host weekly seminars and round table discussions on Thursday afternoons. Our 2018-19 Steering Committee members are: Vineet Bafna (CSE), Prashant Bharadwaj (Economics), Jana Fortier (Anthropology), Teevrat Garg (GPS), Lilly Irani (Communication), Aftab Jassal (Anthropology), Gaurav Khanna (GPS), Vish Krishnan (Rady School), Ramya Rajagopalan (Institute for Practical Ethics), Gayatri Singh (Library), Saiba Varma (Anthropology), and Kamala Visweswaran (Ethnic Studies).  Contact us to learn more, follow us on facebook, and join us at one of our events this quarter.

Next Event:

Thu, May 23, 2019: Dr. Inshah Malik, Kashmir (Cashmere) is not a sweater: An Introduction to the politics, culture and the history of the region

5-7 PM, SSB 107

Co-sponsored by the International Institute, Anthropology Department, and the Institute of Art &Humanities

Abstract: Kashmir region suffers due to neglect caused by disinformation about its history, culture and politics. The understanding about the region is marred by complex political posturing of India and Pakistan which further obscures the pathology of incessant war and oppression in the region. In this lecture, we will look at political birthing of Kashmir, postcolonial crises and continued oppression and violence in the region. We will also examine Kashmir’s post-1947 political life, underlining various movements of self-determination and what makes them different from movements elsewhere. Such an understanding allows for an alternative political consciousness to emerge that forms the basis of resistance politics. We will further dwell into the role that women have played to sustain such a consciousness and how early fractures in the political consciousness exposed the failures in the postcolonial project of nation making. Furthermore, we will be acquainted with how such failure in nation-making aids continued war in the region.



Thu, May 30, 2019: Syed Akbar Hyder (UT Austin), One in Grief: Quratalain Hyder and Urdu Cosmopolitanism

3:30-5 pm, SEQ 103

Co-sponsored by the International Institute, UCSD & Third World Studies.


Tue, Jun 4, 2019: Screening of Louis Kahn’s Tiger City with director Sundaram Tagore.

5:30-7:30 pm, CALIT2 Atkinson Auditorium

Co-sponsored by Qualcomm Institute, South Asia Studies Minor, UCSD, and Sixth College, UCSD.

Abstract: Tiger City is a feature length film with actress Debra Winger and Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi that explores the impact of Salk Institute architect Louis I. Kahn upon South Asia’s built design. The film follows the creation of Kahn’ s less-known magnum opus, the National Assembly Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the context of that nation’s war for independence.

Tiger City’s director, Sundaram Tagore, will be present to discuss a rough cut of the film. He is an art historian, award-winning filmmaker, and owner of the Sundaram Tagore Galleries in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.