Who We Are

The Study of Southern Asia at the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the leading centers for the study of Southern Asia. Countries in which we have scholarly expertise in South Asia include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; and in Southeast Asia, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tibet (as an autonomous region), and Vietnam.

Chicago’s Southern Asia strength is built around the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), comprised of faculty across the University who share teaching and research interests in Southern Asia.

The focus of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), which is supported through a University endowment, is to support and implement faculty and student academic and research projects that broadly encompass the study of South and Southeast Asia.

The Center in Delhi is an intellectual destination, a place to explore ideas across institutions and disciplines. It expands opportunities for collaboration with Indian universities, research institutes, and cultural organizations; and it serves as a focal point for engaging alumni in India and South Asia. To learn more about the University of Chicago in India, explore our three areas of scholarship:

The Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS) and the Center in Delhi work to enhance opportunities available to scholars both in the United States and in South and Southern Asia and to foster intellectual and scholarly communication and inter-disciplinary collaboration among the students and faculty at the University of Chicago and the wider Chicago and Southern Asian Studies communities.

For many years, COSAS hosted a South Asia Language Area Center (SALAC) via funding from a Title VI grant. SALAC provided outreach services for COSAS. Learn more here.

To these ends, COSAS sponsors a variety of activities including colloquia, workshops, conferences, public lectures, film series, cultural events, and other programs and fellowships that promote understanding of the cultures and societies of South and Southeast Asia.



COSAS members are University of Chicago faculty members engaged in significant research, publication and teaching related to the study of South and Southeast Asia. This is one of the largest concentrations of faculty working on Southern Asia at any major research university. Members meet regularly to plan and implement programming and academic programs to enhance the study of Southern Asian at the University.


Associate members are typically scholars based at institutions other than the University of Chicago who reside in the Chicago area or are in Chicago frequently and can participate in COSAS activities. Nomination for associate membership must be made by a University of Chicago faculty member.


Any regularly appointed member of the Faculty of the University whose scholarly work includes Southern Asian studies, although not as a central interest, or any member of the Staff of the University whose responsibilities include scholarly work in Southern Asian studies is eligible to be an Affiliate of the Committee.