University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, South Asia Initiative

CSEAS has been in discussions with the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Potential collaborations on a UIUC project entitled "The Presence of South Asia in Southeast Asia" include:

  • Bringing the South Asia Initiative into the planning and sponsoring of the 2012 Ramayana Institute.
  • Exploring of the impact of Sanskrit on Southeast Asian languages and literacy as well as the evolution of SE Asian scripts.
  • Studying contemporary movements of people -- Tamil immigration to North Sumatra, South Asians in Malaysia, Sikh diaspora, Indians in Burma and Thailand.
  • Researching regional art history and the connections between South and Southeast Asia (especially involving Burma).
  • Paying attention to contemporary and historical religious movements such as the influence of Hindu gurus in Southeast Asia, Christianity in Southeast Asia via South Asia, and the indigenization of Hinduism and Buddhism in S Asia and SE Asia.

As part of this initiative, three new courses are envisioned:

  • One new undergraduate-level course at NIU (With focus on history, language and culture)
  • One new graduate-level course at UIUC (With focus on landscape architecture, religion, and languages)
  • One new joint course – possibly via video conference (to be explored)At times faculty from one institution would travel to the other to present lectures in the courses offered at the sister institution.

UIUC also agreed to join CSEAS to co-organize the 2010 Ramayana Conference.