South Asian Studies

Sohail Hashmi, Chair

Denise Falk, Academic Department Coordinator

112 Ciruti Center

Overview and Contact Information

One of four interdisciplinary majors offered by the Asian Studies Program, South Asian studies allows students to specialize in the history, languages, cultures, and politics of South Asia. Our students are expected to incorporate the humanities and the social sciences fully into their studies with classes at Mount Holyoke and the other colleges in the Five College Consortium. Complementing course work at Mount Holyoke are extracurricular activities and study abroad programs that broaden and deepen students’ understanding of Asia.

On campus, our students experience regional culture at many levels, including language tables and clubs, guest lectures, performing and visual arts, film, festivals, and regional cuisine. These activities are often initiated by and benefit greatly from the diverse student population of Mount Holyoke and particularly the large numbers of students from Asian countries or with an Asian background.

Most of our students spend a semester or a summer in one of the many Mount Holyoke College-approved South Asian study abroad programs.

South Asian studies majors and minors graduate to pursue careers in fields as varied as education, business, NGOs, journalism, the arts, government service, and graduate study.

See Also


This area of study is administered by the Asian Studies Committee:

Satyananda Gabriel, Professor of Economics

Rie Hachiyanagi, Professor of Art

Sohail Hashmi, Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation

Kavita Khory, Professor of Politics

Naoko Nemoto, Professor of Asian Studies

Joshua Roth, Professor of Anthropology

Ajay Sinha, Professor of Art History, On Leave 2016-2017

Ying Wang, Professor of Asian Studies

Calvin Chen, Associate Professor of Politics

Kavita Datla, Associate Professor of History, Teaching Spring Only

Susanne Mrozik, Associate Professor of Religion

Amina Steinfels, Associate Professor of Religion

Elif Babul, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Lan Wu, Assistant Professor of History

Heba Arafah, Five College Lecturer in Arabic, On Leave 2016-2017

Shihyun Kim, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Lisha Xu, Lecturer in Asian Studies

Lei Yan, Lecturer in Chinese

Richard Chu, Five College Associate Professor of History

Fumiko Brown, Five College Senior Lecturer in Japanese

Olla Al-Shalchi, Five College Lecturer in Arabic

Suk Massey, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Chan Young Park, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 40 credits:

One course (4 credits) in modern South Asian history, for example:4
History of Modern South Asia, 1700 to the Present
One course (4 credits) on pre-modern and/or early modern South Asia (c. 3000 BCE to 1700 CE), for example:4
Arts of India
India's Epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata
Hinduism: An Introduction
8 elective courses (32 credits):32
Two (8 credits) must be from Group One: Humanities (history, religion, philosophy, literature, language, the arts, and interdisciplinary courses in these areas) 1
One (4 credits) must be from Group Two: Social Science (anthropology, economics, geography, international relations, linguistics, politics, sociology, and interdisciplinary courses in these areas)
At least three of the courses above (12 credits) must be 300-level. One of these three 300-level courses must be a non-language course. 2
Total Credits40

In order to count toward the major, studio art or performance courses must be supplemented with analytical written work.


Any course that is taught outside of Mount Holyoke must be approved by the chair of the Asian Studies Program to count toward the major as a 300-level course.

Additional Specifications

  • Any course that devotes 50 percent or more of its substance to South Asian countries, peoples, or issues may count toward the major.
  • Majors are strongly encouraged, but not required, to pursue study of a South Asian classical or modern language through the Five College Mentored Language Program, summer study, or study abroad. Students may count up to 4 credits toward the major for studying a South Asian language through the Five College Mentored Language Program.
  • One course (4 credits) on South Asian diasporas may count toward the major.

Courses Counting toward the Major

Most South Asian studies courses at Mount Holyoke are listed below, but students should also consult the catalog entries or websites of other departments, including art history, history, international relations, politics, and religion. South Asian Studies majors should also plan to use the rich resources of the Five College Consortium in selecting their courses (listings are available through the Five College Class Schedule or individual college websites).

Please consult the chair of the Asian studies program for guidelines regarding Asian languages not taught in the Five Colleges.

Art History
ARTH-263Arts of India 4
ARTH-360BCSeminar in Asian Art: 'Bollywood: A Cinema of Interruptions' 4
Asian Studies
ASIAN-211MATopics in Asian Studies: 'Modern Indian and South Asian Writers' 4
ASIAN-254India's Epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata 4
ASIAN-350Love, Desire, and Gender in Indian Literature 4
DANCE-143Classical Indian Dance 2
Gender Studies
GNDST-333ASAdvanced Seminar: 'Anthropology and Sexualities' 4
GNDST-333SAAdvanced Seminar: 'Women and Gender in Modern South Asia' 4
HIST-124History of Modern South Asia, 1700 to the Present 4
HIST-222Muslim Politics in Modern South Asia 4
HIST-223Religion and Politics in Modern India 4
HIST-251The City and Economic Life in Modern South Asia 4
HIST-301NDColloquium: 'The Indian Ocean World' 4
HIST-301SAColloquium: 'Women and Gender in Modern South Asia' 4
POLIT-357War and Peace in South Asia 4
POLIT-373The Politics of Transformation in China and India 4
RELIG-223Religion and Politics in Modern India 4
RELIG-241Women and Buddhism 4
RELIG-267Buddhist Ethics 4
RELIG-311Sufism: The Mystic Path in Islam 4