Former ISAS Director, Raka Ray joins the SSRC Board of Directors

The Institute is proud to announce that Prof. Raka Ray, dean of the Division of Social Sciences and former Director of the ISAS, has joined the prestigious Social Science Research Council (SSRC) as a member of its Board of Directors for a three-year term. Established in Manhattan in 1923, the SSRC is a US-based, independent, international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing research in the social sciences and related disciplines. Read more HERE

Announcing the Launch of a 4-year program on Climate Change in South Asia (beginning Fall 2022)

The Institute is proud to launch a four-year program on climate change in South Asia (beginning Fall 2022) in partnership with several key institutions in the region. 

The Institute has signed an MOU with the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, which is a part of a larger regional organization, the South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM). Under SALAM, we will partner with other key institutions in South Asia including Bangladesh’s Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, Nepal’s Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility, Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute and the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka. The aim is to bring together academic programs and policy think tanks from across the UC Berkeley campus and in South Asia to advance research and policy impacts on critical issues on climate change in the region.

Remembering Dr. Jyotirindra (“Jyoti”) DasGupta (April 14, 1933 - March 17, 2022)

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Prof. Jyotirindra (“Jyoti”) DasGupta, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UC Berkeley, at the age of 88 on March 17, 2022. 

Professor DasGupta spent 61 years of his life in Berkeley; he loved both the university and the town. He first came to Berkeley from Kolkata, India as a doctoral student in August of 1961. He completed his PhD in 1966, joined the faculty in 1965, and taught in the department until his retirement as a full Professor of Political Science in 1995. His accomplishments were many, among them establishing and chairing the Development Studies program, his groundbreaking work on language politics and ethnicity in South Asia, and his work with the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies (now the Institute for South Asia Studies), which he also chaired for a short time. He served in the Faculty Group in Asian Studies and on the board of the journal Asian Survey for many years as well. As Professor Emeritus, he kept up in his field, published regularly, and advised graduate students for decades after his official retirement. A fixture at the old Barrows Hall, he spent nearly 60 years of his life walking the halls of that building and kept an office there until just a few years ago. His most recent works focused on issues of federalism and elections in India. 

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife of 57 years, Rupasree, daughter Modhurima (Rima), son-in-law Jonathan Eldridge, and his beloved granddaughter, Mira. 

If you'd like to drop a condolence note to his family, please write to Rima DasGupta at rimadasgupta415@gmail.com

Dr. Amna Qayyum Kamal awarded the 2021 Pirzada Prize in Pakistan Studies!

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Amna Qayyum is the recipient of the 20​21 S.S. Pirzada Prize in Pakistan Studies. Many congratulations to ​her for her dissertation, The Demographic State: Population, Global Biopolitics, and Decolonization in South Asia, c. 1947-71. Congratulations also to Dr. Ghazal Asif Farrukhi for receiving an Honorable Mention for her dissertation, Marvi's Sisters: Hindu Belonging and the Muslim State in Pakistan. Read more HERE

Aajkal at the ISAS for Spring 2022

Aajkal for Spring 2022 is out! Please click on the link below to find out about our Zoom lineup of public lectures, conferences, workshops, and one-on-one conversations for this semester! Looking forward to seeing you virtually at one of them. In the meantime, please stay safe!

New Language Endowment: The Arignar Anna Endowment for Tamil Studies at UC Berkeley

Thanks to the generous support from Dr. Vijay Janakiraman, representing Tamil Chair, Inc., we are on our way to creating a one million dollar endowment to teach Tamil language at UC Berkeley. Dr. and Mrs. Janakiram, holding the check, with (from left) Prof. Bharathy, Mr. Abu Khan, Mr. Kumar Kumarappan, Prof. Sugata Ray, Prof. Munis D. Faruqui, Prof. Paula Versano, Dr. Sanchita Saxena, and Robin Satori.

Sugata Ray awarded prestigious prize for his book, Climate Change & the Art of Devotion.

Congratulations to Prof. Sugata Ray, Associate Professor of History of Art and of South & Southeast Asian Studies and the Interim Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies, for being selected as this year's winner of the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion for his book, Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550-1850 (University of Washington Press, 2019). In nominating him, the selection committee recognized "the innovative and paradigm shifting nature of this book, the author’s command and synthesis of multiple epistemologies that connected architecture and the environment, and its potential to open up avenues for architectural history as a global discipline."

The Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion has been awarded annually since 1959 to a monograph that makes an outstanding contribution to the study or knowledge of architectural history. Read more HERE

UC Berkeley No.1 on Forbes' list of America's top colleges!

For the first time, UC Berkeley has taken the No.1 spot on Forbes magazine’s annual list of America’s top colleges, beating out several elite private universities, including Yale in second place and Princeton in third. As the first public university to win Forbes’ top ranking — if you count out West Point — Berkeley was noted for its affordability, excellence and “rich tradition of leading technological and social change.” 

Read more >>HERE

Scholar, Ambedkarite movement activist, and UC Berkeley alum, Dr. Gail Omvedt dies at 81

American-born Indian scholar and UC Berkeley alum, Dr. Gail Omvedt passed away on August 25, 2021 after a prolonged illness at her residence in Kasegaon village of Sangli district in Maharashtra. The Dalit-Bahujan, Adivasis, women and human rights champion was 81.

An Indian citizen since 1983, Dr. Omvedt earned her PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley in 1973 for her dissertation titled, "Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society: The Non-Brahman Movement in Western India, 1873-1930." 

Dr. Omvedt authored over 25 books, including In Colonial Society – Non-Brahmin Movement in Western India, Seeking Begampura, Buddhism in India, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Phule, Dalit and the Democratic Revolution, Understanding Caste, We Will Smash the Prison and New Social Movement in India.

Dr. Omvedt is survived by her husband Dr Bharat Patankar, daughter Prachi, son-in-law Tejaswi and granddaughter Nia.

Of the many tributes bestowed to Dr. Omvedt, here are two from The Hindu and The Indian Express.

Remembering scholar of Jainism and Buddhism, Prof. Padmanabh Jaini (October 23, 1923 - May 25, 2021)

The Institute mourns the passing of our revered colleague, teacher and friend, Prof. Padmanabh Srivarma Jaini. Scholar of Buddhist and Jain Studies, Prof. Jaini passed away peacefully in his home in the Berkeley Hills on Tuesday May 25, 2021, just five months shy of what would have been his 98th birthday. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his son Arvind and his grandson Ashvin.

Please read a tribute to him by Prof. Alexander von Rospatt, Click here to listen to a lecture delivered by Prof. Jaini at a UC Berkeley symposium organized in 2013 to celebrate and honor his scholarship and academic contributions. Read Ramachandra Guha's review of Prof. Jaini's 2019 memoirs titled, Yogāyoga or “Coincidences on pages 8-9, of our annual newsletter, Khabar

India's Covid-19 Crisis: How to help

The Institute has been following the Covid-19 news from India with growing alarm. In response, we have begun compiling a list of organizations that are providing badly needed relief work. And please consider giving, if you can. We also have a page for past Covid-19 related resources.

Maryam Hina Hasnain & Dr. Aparna Kumar awarded the 2021 SAAI UC Berkeley Art Prizes!

Many congratulations to Maryam Hina Hasnain for being awarded the UC Berkeley South Asia Artist Prize and to Dr. Aparna Kumar for being awarded the UC Berkeley South Asia Art & Architecture Dissertation Prize. The award ceremonies and lectures will take place on April 21 and 22 respectively.

Dr. Ahsan Kamal awarded the 2020 Pirzada Prize in Pakistan Studies!

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Ahsan Kamal is the recipient for the 2020 S.S. Pirzada Dissertation Prize for Pakistan Studies! Many congratulations to him for his dissertation, Saving Sindhu: Indus Enclosure and River Defense in Pakistan (UNC-Chapel Hill, 2019). The award ceremony and lecture took place on April 12 at 9am.

Remembering Kimi Bhattacharya

The Institute mourns the sudden passing of Kimi Bhattacharya on Jan 5, 2021. Kimi was an avid supporter of the Institute and played a major role in the formation of the Bangla Initiative and the Bhattacharya India Fund. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her husband, son, family and her wide circle of friends.

Atreyee Gupta awarded the Hellman Fellowship for 2020!!!

Congratulations to Prof. Atréyēē Gupta on being awarded the Hellman Fellowship for 2020!!! Professor Gupta’s Hellman-funded research will support a book project that examines the artistic and intellectual resonances of the 1955 Afro-Asian Bandung Conference and the 1961 Non-Aligned Movement, using India as a case study. 

Sugata Ray awarded the AAR's Religion & the Arts Book Award!!!

Congratulations to Prof. Sugata Ray on being awarded the Religion and the Arts Book Award for 2020 by the American Academy of Religion (AAR) for his book, Climate Change & the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550–1850. Read more about the award and what the AAR's jury said in selecting Prof. Ray.

Geeta Anand Appointed as Dean of Berkeley Journalism

We are thrilled to announce that Interim Dean Geeta Anand has been appointed as the Dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism effective immediately. Please join us in congratulating Dean Anand on this well deserved promotion. We look forward to supporting her and her vision for the future of Berkeley Journalism. 

Announcing a new fund for Sikh Studies at UC Berkeley!

The Institute is thrilled to announce the establishment of the Dr. Ranjit Singh Sabharwal Endowed Fund for Sikh Studies. Generously funded by the friends and family of Dr. Ranjit Singh Sabharwal, as well as those committed to the furthering of Sikh Studies, this fund will support the creation of a semester-long visiting lecturer program.

Aajkal at the ISAS for Fall 2020!

Aajkal for Fall 2020 is out! Please click on the link below to find out about our Zoom lineup of public lectures, conferences, workshops, and one-on-one conversations for this semester! Looking forward to seeing you virtually at one of them. In the meantime, please stay safe!

A Desi in the White House!!

Congratulations to Sen. Kamala Harris, our first Sarah Kailath speaker, on being chosen as the running mate of Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Harris could become the first woman and the first person of color to hold the office of vice president. Read about her Indian heritage.

Remembering Prof. Kirk R. Smith

The Institute mourns the passing of Prof. Kirk R. Smith, a pioneering researcher on the impact of household energy use in developing nations. Professor of Global Environmental Health and Director of the Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre in New Delhi, Prof. Smith is best known for his work on the effects of indoor air pollution from cook stove fires. Prof. Smith died on June 15 at the age of 73 at his Berkeley home.

South Asianist, Nicholas Dirks is Cal's Chancellor Designate

A South Asia scholar from Columbia University, known for his affinity with students and potential donors alike, Nicholas Dirks, has been selected as the 10th chancellor of UC Berkeley.

Read CSAS Chair, Lawrence Cohen's comments on the immense importance of this appointment.

From Berkeley to JNU. With love and solidarity.

At the memorial to the 1964 Free Speech Movement on the campus of University of California, Berkeley, students, led by Professor of English, Poulomi Saha, stand in love and solidarity with JNU. #standwithJNU.

Read the entire article in Kafila.

Raka Ray announced as new Dean of Social Sciences at UC Berkeley

We are proud to announce that Prof. Raka Ray, the former Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies, has been selected as the next dean of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science. We wish her all the best as she takes on this new role. Read more about Prof. Ray and her new role .

Cal alum wins the 2019 AIIS Book prize for "At the Limits of Cure" - a book on tuberculosis in India

Congratulations to Bharat Venkat for receiving the 2019 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences for his book, At the Limits of Cure. Bharat Venkat, who earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, is an assistant professor in Anthropology at the University of Oregon; starting in July 2019, he will be assistant professor at UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics. Read more about the award and the book.

Cal's South Asia Art Initiative goes to Dhaka Art Summit

The Institute's South Asia Art Initiative is sending a team of scholars - Atreyee Gupta, Sugata Ray, Asma Kazmi, Sanchita Saxena, & Munis Faruqui - to the Dhaka Art Summit in 2020. The program, titled, "Indian Ocean Imaginaries as World History," will unfold in close collaboration with artists, activists, and art and architecture historians in Bangladesh. Read more about the program "Indian Ocean Imaginaries as World History"

Announcing the Pirzada Dissertation Prize Winner for 2018

Many congratulations to Dr. Salman Hussain for his dissertation, Together Without Consensus: Class, Emotions and the Politics of the Rule of Law in the Lawyers’ Movement (2007-09) in Pakistan, completed at CUNY under Prof. Avram Bornstein. Award ceremony on April 26, 2019. Read more about Dr. Hussain's dissertation.

The 2018 issue of Khabar, our annual newsletter, is out!

Highlights include an award winning photo essay on sanitation workers in India, new publications by UC faculty and alumni, an opinion piece on Rahul Gandhi's UC Berkeley visit, and Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies' related news. Read the Khabar newsletter.

Cal's Gadgil Lab: Making Water in India Safer for Drinking

A collaborative team of researchers led by UC Berkeley's Dr. Ashok Gadgil and Jadavpur University's Prof. Joyashree Roy have set up a very efficient and cost-effective system for providing safe and arsenic free water for just 60 paise per litre. Read more about their work.