South Asia Section
The South Asia Department aims to reach a better understanding of one of the most complex and significant areas of the world.
The department benefits enormously from its world leading experts across the disciplines, including History, Religious Studies, Music, Art, Politics, Anthropology, adding depth and texture to our research and studies. Together we make-up one of the largest centres of South Asian studies outside the subcontinent, which brings incalculable benefits to our students.
Facts and figures
8th in UK
Complete University Guide 2021 (South Asian Studies)
Why choose SOAS for South Asia studies?
The study of language gives unique access to the culture of a region, to its contemporary life and its historical civilization.
Starting from this premise, the South Asia Section of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics is devoted to research and teaching in the languages, literatures, cinemas and cultures of the Indian subcontinent, with the aim of reaching better understanding of one of the most complex and significant areas of the world.
Our teaching and research complements other SOAS’s South Asianists in various disciplines and other departments within the School; together we constitute one of the largest centres of South Asian studies outside the subcontinent.
Our staff research interests are wide and include Indian cinema and popular culture, diaspora studies, postcolonial literature, literary and linguistic studies (associated particularly with Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Nepali, and Sanskrit), classical Hinduism, feminism, representations of Islam, the politics of Nepal and Bhutan, and literary translation.
The Department offers the widest coverage in Europe of research and teaching related to the languages, literatures and cultures of the principal countries of South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Department’s primary commitment is to eight languages (Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, Pali, Punjabi, Sanskrit, and Urdu) and their literatures and cultures. It also offers language instruction in Sinhala and Tamil.
Research and teaching draw heavily upon the resources of the Library’s extensive South Asia collection, and is closely connected with the work of other SOAS departments.
The research interests of the Department’s members include:
- Vedic texts and Sanskrit epics
- Islam in South Asia
- nationalism and linguistic identity
- medieval Hindu devotional texts
- twentieth century fiction in South Asian languages
- postcolonial literatures
- Bengali, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu poetry
- Indian cinema and popular cultures
- the South Asian diaspora
- Mughal history
- cultural studies
- gender studies
- comparative literature
After the Earth's Violent Sway: Tangible and intangible legacies of a natural disaster
Documenting and analysing the cultural and political impacts of Nepal’s 2015 earthquakes.
The Hatha Yoga Project: Ancient practices for modern wellbeing
Transforming the teaching of both the history and practice of yoga in universities, schools and yoga studios in Europe and the United States.