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SOAS South Asia Institute

Welcome to the SOAS South Asia Institute

Welcome to SSAI

The SOAS South Asia Institute (SSAI) represents the largest multi-disciplinary community of scholars working on South Asia of any university in Europe.  It promotes research and teaching on the region through the work of more than 60 affiliated academics in thirteen humanities and social science departments, plus nearly a hundred research students. While many of its members’ research and teaching activities are related primarily to India, the SSAI also provides a home for the Centre of Pakistan Studies, and for scholars whose work focuses on Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.

The SSAI hosts research fellows from India and Pakistan who come to SOAS each year, sponsored by the Charles Wallace Trust.  It has begun to reach out to universities and research institutes in South Asia with the aim of fostering mutually beneficial collaboration in both teaching and research.   It also aims to strengthen its links with SOAS alumni, particularly in South Asia, and to secure philanthropic funding to enhance the SSAI's reach and impact and ensure the future sustainability of its more specialised scholarship.  It aims to make the expertise of its members more widely available to the wider world by engaging with governments, businesses, NGOs the charity sector, the media, and beyond.  Taking full advantage of the wide range of regional expertise at SOAS, the SOAS South Asia Institute also aims to initiate world-leading research on the political, economical, social, and cultural connections between South Asia and other parts of Asia, as well as Africa and the Middle East.

The SSAI maintains a busy programme of  talks, seminars, workshops, book launches and film screenings, most of which are held on weekday evenings and are open to the general public.  In due course it will also offer specialist briefings, short courses and bespoke training opportunities. The Director of the SSAI would be happy to hear from you if you would like to know more about the Institute’s activities and plans, or wish to contribute to them in any way.

A SOAS Centenary Exhibition: The Everlasting Flame, Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination

Rahman Chitrakar pictures on display

Rahman Chitrakar pictures

The ​​Chief Minister of West Bengal, Smt. Mamata Banerjee, kindly donated two pictures to the SOAS South Asia Institute during her visit in July 2015.  The ​​pictures, painted in the Kalighat style by Rahman Chitrakar, are now displayed on the fourth floor of the Brunei Gallery.

The Chief Minister was accompanied on her visit to London by a delegation which included state ministers, prominent members of the West Bengal business community, and the Vice Chancellor of Presidency University, Professor Anuradha Lohia.


MA Intensive South Asian Studies

The SSAI has developed a new Masters programme in Intensive South Asian Studies, which it offers for the first time in 2014.

This two-year programme offers comprehensive language-based training across a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. All of the SSAI's teaching programmes will provide students with valuable skills that are rarely available elsewhere. These include interdisciplinary understandings of South Asian society that are theoretically sophisticated and based on deep empirical foundations and advanced proficiency in languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit and Urdu.


Book covers

Recent publications by the members of the SSAI.


SSAI Staff
SSAI team: Tej and Mike

From left: Navtej and Michael

Academic Staff

At present SOAS employs more than 60 South Asian specialists in the teaching staff. In addition to a department of South Asian Languages and Cultures, SOAS has South Asia specialists in the departments of Anthropology, Development Studies, Economics, Financial and Management Studies, History, History of Art and Archaeology, Languages and Cultures, Law, Media and Film, Music, Politics and International Studies, Study of Religions.

Forthcoming Events

Centre for the Study of Pakistan

The Centre draws on the range of academic research and teaching across the disciplines of SOAS, including Languages and Literature, the Study of Religions, History, Economics, Politics, International Relations, Music, Art and Media and Film Studies.

The Michael Palin Scholarship

Thanks to the generosity of SOAS Honorary Fellow Michael Palin, there will be one scholarship available for a post-graduate student taking the two-year MA in Intensive South Asian Studies on a full-time basis. The scholarship is valued at £47,625 and will cover the full cost of tuition fees for both years of the programme.

​​Candidate criteria and online application

Deadline: 31 March 2016

SOAS Charles Wallace Pakistan Fellowship, 2016-2017

One fellowship is awarded annually by the Centre for the Study of Pakistan (located within the SOAS South Asia Institute (SSAI)) and the Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust to a scholar who has had no, or little opportunity, to conduct research outside Pakistan.  The 3 month placement at SOAS, University of London should be taken predominantly during term-time (late September -mid December).

​​Candidate criteria and online application

Closing date for applications: 31 May 2016.​

SOAS Students

Current MPhil and PhD students pursuing projects on South Asia.

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