Sarah Ahmed wins best MA Paper Award, 2015-16

MA South Asian Studies (2013) graduate Sarah Ahmed won the best MA Paper Award at the University of Oregon, where she is currently completing her phD in the department of Sociology. Professor Aaron Gullickson, Associate Professor in the department of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies , discusses Sarah’s paper:
“Before discussing Sarah’s excellent paper, let me just say that this was a particularly difficult year for the committee because of the quality of MA papers we were reading. Although the committee ultimately agreed unanimously on Sarah’s paper as the award winner, this occurred only after a lively and rich discussion in which the committee fairly rigorously self-evaluated what we mean by “best” in a discipline with such substantive and methodological breadth. We were very impressed by all of the papers we read.
Sarah’s paper stood out for its novelty, the depth of its theoretical insight, and frankly the bravery required to undertake such a project. In particular, the committee was impressed by the way in which Sarah tied macro-level processes of state legitimacy to the micro-level experience of gender inequality and women’s agency in rural villages. The paper promises to contribute to a lively and consequential debate on development, globalization, and gender. The full abstract is below:
Under what conditions does external pressure on Pakistan’s government result in policy change pertaining to women? And, specifically, how do policy changes maneuver through the regime and informal, quasi-juridical Islamic courts in rural Pakistan to impact, if at all, women’s agency? This study engages historically specific process in Pakistan to examine how macro structural developments influence micro relationships in rural areas, specifically in women’s agency. Using field data gathered in 2015, this paper contends that the Pakistani state has been confronted with a dual […]

By |January 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sarah Ahmed wins best MA Paper Award, 2015-16

Singing Tagore

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On the 30th of November, the sound of the sarod and the tabla graced Brechemin Auditorium at the University of Seattle as a group of musicians got together to sing and celebrate the musical legacy of Rabindranath Tagore.

The Bengali polymath visited Seattle in the autumn of 1916, his first stop on a tour of America.

The event began with an introduction to Tagore and his work by visual artist and writer Donald Fels, followed by sound artist and composer Robert Millis playing two records of Tagore reading his own poetry.

The stage was then given over to the group of talented musicians whose dulcet tunes and rapturous ragas enlivened the night. On the sarod was Raja Ray, and Deepashri Joglekar was behind the harmonium, while Shailendra Upadhye’s tabla struck magic throughout the concert.

The program began with ‘Aamar Mukti Aaloy Aaloy’ sung by the musicians as a group in a beautifully lilting Kedar. Saswati Pal followed with raag Bihag, singing ‘Aami Keboli Swapono Korechhi Bapono.’ Next up, Anandamoy Bhattacharya sang a beautiful rendition of ‘Godhuli Gagone Meghe’ in a blend of raga Kedar and Chayant. Swati Banerjee next sung ‘Aaji e Anandasandhya’ in raag Purvi, followed by ‘E Ki Labonye Purno Praano’ by Siddharta Pal in raag Mahishuri. Deepa Banerjee then captivated us with a stunning Yaman, singing ‘Dnaariye Aachho Tumi…’ The virtuosos then regrouped for a final group performance, ending with a touching raag Desh rendition of ‘Eso Shyamalo Sundaro.’ The concert ended in much-deserved applause, with post-performance pictures and tete-a-tete that was as joyous as the music that graced the night.

By |December 13th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Singing Tagore

Envisaging South Asia: Images, Art and Scholarship

By |September 19th, 2016|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Envisaging South Asia: Images, Art and Scholarship

Conlon Fellowship Awardees Honored

The 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 awardees of the Frank F. Conlon Fellowship in South Asian Studies were honored at a luncheon today on campus. Taylor Rockhill, the 2016-2017 awardee, recently graduated from the Master of Arts in South Asian Studies program. Mr. Rockhill has focused on the Commonwealth of Nations and its changing role and composition in the 21st century. Deep Pal, the 2016-2017 awardee, is working on a history of India’s foreign relations.

The South Asian Studies Program was honored to host the major funders of the Frank F. Conlon Endowment in South Asian Studies, Frank F. and Joan Conlon, Ann Pryde, and Marc Pryde at the luncheon. We were joined by South Asia Program Chair Sunila S. Kale, South Asia Center Managing Director Keith Snodgrass, and Jackson School of International Studies Director Resat Kasaba.

Find more information on the Conlon Fellowship here. Support the endowment here.

By |June 30th, 2016|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Conlon Fellowship Awardees Honored

Learn Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and other languages at UW

2013 SA Langugages Bollywood eRegistration for fall quarter is the time to start your future by signing up for South Asian language courses! There are great opportunities to learn Bengali (more than 200 million speakers), Hindi (almost 500 million speakers), Urdu (99 million speakers), and Sanskrit.

Registration opens May 6th!
Studying South Asian languages also opens up opportunities to study abroad during summer or the academic year, and can make you eligible for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, which can help fund your education.

The UW Department of Asian Languages and Literature offers courses from beginning to advanced level in all the languages mentioned above.

See our South Asian languages page for videos and more details.

By |April 27th, 2016|Academic Opportunities, Courses, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Learn Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and other languages at UW

US-India Economic Relations

On Friday, February 26th 2015, the South Asia Center (Jackson School of International Studies) and Global Business Center (Foster School of Business) hosted a three-hour symposium. Panelists were experts from the government, academia and industry.

The welcome address was delivered by Dr. Sunila S. Kale, Director of the South Asia Center. She highlighted the Center’s commitment to teaching and expanding knowledge on South Asia, through a host of activities including such symposia, noting its role as a ‘forum for thoughtful debate, critique, and dissent’ on a range of issues concerning South Asia.

Panel I: Development Agendas and Legal and Commercial Frameworks

The first panel, featured Jonathan Bensky, President and CEO of Pacific Northwest Advisors, and Amrita Srivastava, a partner at Desh International and Business Law in addition to Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok. It was moderated by Professor Sunila S. Kale.

The Consul General of India, San Francisco, Ambassador Ventakesan Ashok, observed that a paradigm shift was developing in US-India economic relations. He outlined the geopolitical agenda and economic development policies of the current Indian government. He noted that the Indian economy has experienced 7.5% growth in the last year but that electronics manufacturing comprised only 25% of the GDP, which the government would like to increase to 45%. This is precisely why, he noted, the Indian government had launched Make in India, a national program focused on building manufacturing infrastructure in order to position India as a key electronics manufacturer in the international market. The Consul General observed that Make in India is the government’s flagship program that aims to build much needed infrastructure. These include: the Smart Cities program, which will facilitate the development of nearly 500 housing developments, since ‘affordable housing needs to accompany manufacturing’; the Digital India […]

By |April 8th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on US-India Economic Relations

UW South Asia alumna Hannah Haegeland: two new pieces, one in Foreign Policy and one in Foreign Affairs

UW South Asia alumna Hannah Haegeland, currently a a Scoville Peace Fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., has two new pieces, one in Foreign Policy and one in Foreign Affairs:

“India’s Nuclear Dangers” Foreign Policy, 31 March 2016,

“Facing Armageddon in South Asia”Foreign Affairs, 1 April 2016.

By |April 1st, 2016|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on UW South Asia alumna Hannah Haegeland: two new pieces, one in Foreign Policy and one in Foreign Affairs

Director’s Welcome 2015

Welcome from the South Asia Center:  

As the new Director of the South Asia Center, it’s a pleasure to welcome everyone to the start of a new year at the University of Washington. I’m honored to follow in Anand Yang’s footsteps at the Center and over the next few years I look forward to working closely with students, faculty, and staff to strengthen the study of South Asia at UW. I’m also eager to collaborate with individuals and organizations in Seattle and Washington to share our passion and knowledge about the region with a wider audience.

Last year was a great one for the South Asia Center. The Center advanced its mission to educate and enrich the wider public about South Asia through activities like the Newspapers in Education Series and through events like the Voices of Partition, which provided a space to remember and reflect on the enduring significance of 1947. We are eager to build on these initiatives and launch several new ones.

An accomplished group of students received South Asian Studies master’s degrees in June 2015 and this fall we welcome a new cohort of students. Our language programs continue to provide rigorous training in Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, Persian, Sanskrit, and Pali and many of our students are supported in their language study with fellowships from the Foreign Languages and Area Studies Program from the Department of Education. Students on campus have the opportunity to learn about the most important aspects of South Asia through an extensive roster of classes. One of the highlights of our undergraduate curriculum is our study abroad program in the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.

During the last few years many of our South Asia […]

By |October 25th, 2015|Feature One, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Director’s Welcome 2015

Faculty Research

Selected Faculty Research

Prchalanaofessor Manish Chalana, Assistant Professor in the Urban Design and Planning Department, conducted field work in India through the support of the Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in 2014 to work on developing a book length manuscript on the history, theory and practice of historic preservation in India from the British Colonial period up to the present. While in India he was affiliated with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), where he co-taught the advanced thesis studio for the final year Masters in Architectural Conservation Students. Read more about Professor Chalana’s field work here.

ramamurthyProfessor and Chair of the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Priti Ramamurthy is conducting field work in Hyderabad and New Delhi during the 2015-2016 academic year. Professor Ramamurthy, supported by funding from an American Council for Learned Societies Research Collaborative Fellowship (2015-17) and an American Institute of Indian Studies Senior Short Term Fellowships (2016), will be working collaboratively with Vinay Gidwani, associate professor of geography at the University of Minnesota. The research will explore the experiences and social relations of informal sector work, including construction, street vending, petty retail, transportation, waste picking, sex work, and domestic service labor.


In 2015-16, Sunila Kale, Associate Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies and Chair and Director of the South Asia Center and Program, will start a new research project on the politics of extractive industries in eastern India. Her project, which will be supported by a Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship, explores the relationship between corporations and Corporate Social […]

By |September 17th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2015 Grads

The UW South Asia program graduated nine students in 2015.

Our graduating students have been heavily involved in the university community during their time here. Both Thilini Kahandawaarachchi and Mansi Majithia represented the South Asia program students by serving in the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. Majithia, along with Quinn Clark, Nick Gottschall, and Hannah Haegeland, presented original research at the South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Four of our graduates this year are headed into selective PhD programs, in which they will continue research and specialties that they developed during their South Asia MA degree. Both Quinn Clark and Keith Cantú will pursue doctorates in Religious Studies, heading to Columbia University and UC Santa Barbara respectively. Fellow 2015 graduate Kelsey Utne recently began her doctoral work in modern South Asian history at Cornell University. And  Jessica Bachman will be staying at UW to pursue her PhD in history.

Many South Asia MA students study language in South Asia, either during the summer or sometimes for a full academic year. Through a Boren Fellowship Hannah Haegeland spent last year in Lucknow, India studying advanced Urdu, before coming back this year to finish her research and coursework. After graduation she began working as a Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow at the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program in Washington, D.C.

Placing high value on developing their language skills, during summer terms students from this class of graduates pursued intensive language studies in Sanskrit, Bangla, Hindi, Urdu, and Persian. They studied at domestic locations (Seattle, Washington and Madison, Wisconsin), as well as internationally (Jaipur, Lucknow, and Calcutta, India, and Lahore, Pakistan).

Congratulations to all of our graduates.





By |September 17th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments