South Asian Studies Concentration

Coordinator: Professor Kristin Bloomer

South Asia, which contains nearly a quarter of the world's people, refers to the countries comprising the South Asian subcontinent: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and sometimes Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Tibet. The concentration consists of a program of study combining language training, off-campus study, required core courses in various disciplines, and supporting courses, including a designated capstone course. The purpose of the concentration is to provide cross-cultural interdisciplinary understanding of a complex civilization that is both ancient and modern, and of great significance in the contemporary world.

Requirements for the Concentration:

A total of 42 credits, with at least 6 credits drawn from each of the three ASST distribution areas (Artistic/Lterary analysis, Humanistic inquiry and Social inquiry)

18 credits in core courses, drawn from at least two of the three ASST distribution areas

24 credits from supporting courses, drawn from at least two of the three ASST distribution areas, and including a designated South Asia-related capstone courses

Courses taken on off-campus programs in South Asia may be applied to the concentration

Normally, at least one term of off-campus study in South Asia

Usually, the closest equivalent to one year of study of a South Asian language, obtained through one or more of the following: off-campus study; summer programs at colleges, universities, or institutes; independent study at Carleton: native language proficiency.

Core Courses

18 credits from among the following; courses must be from at least two distribution areas:

ENGL 250 Modern Indian Fiction

ENGL 251 Contemporary Indian Fiction

HIST 161 From the Mughals to Mahatma Gandhi: A History of Modern India

HIST 270: Nuclear Nations: India and Pakistan as Rival Siblings

RELG 150 Religions of South Asia (renamed “Religions of India” for 2017)

RELG 155 Hinduism: An Introduction

RELG 237 Yoga

SOAN 157 Cultures and Politics in India

SOAN 257 Culture and Politics in India

Supporting Courses

ECON 240 Microeconomics of Development

ECON 241 Growth and Development

ENGL 245 Bollywood Nation

ENGL 251 Contemporary Indian Fiction

ENGL 252 Caribbean Fiction 

ENGL 335 England in India/India in England

ENGL 395 Rushdie

HIST 259: Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, Representations

MUSC 180 Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music

MUSC 181 Sitar

MUSC 248 Music of India

MUSC 280 Raga: Vocal or Instrumental Study of Hindustani Music

MUSC 281 Sitar

POSC 120: Democracy and Dictatorship

POSC 237 Southeast Asian Politics

POSC 241 Ethnic Conflict

POSC 378: Political Economy and Ecology of Southeast Asia: Social Changes in Southeast Asia

POSC 379 Field Research Experiences and Methods

POSC 392 Diversity in Social Ecological Systems in Southeast Asia

RELG 100 Christianity and Colonialism

RELG 122 Introduction to Islam

RELG 123 The Qur'an

RELG 153 Introduction to Buddhism

RELG 237 Yoga: Religion, History, Practice

RELG 238 The Sacred Body

RELG 245 Buddha

RELG 250 Buddhism and Ecology 

RELG 255 Social Engagement in Asian Religions

RELG 256 Modern Hinduism: Encounters with the West

RELG 257 Shari'a

RELG 263 Islamic Mysticism

RELG 265 Religion and Violence: Hindus, Muslims, Jews

RELG 268 Encountering Islam

RELG 280 The Politics of Sex in Asian Religions

RELG 289 Global Religions in Minnesota

RELG 362 Spirit Possession 

WGST 310 Asian Mystiques Demystified

Independent Studies, in consultation with faculty.

Capstone Courses

Currently, any one of a number of core or supporting courses, with extra components to be decided upon consultation with the course professor and the coordinator of South Asian Studies.

Relevant Study Abroad Opportunities


 “Sustainable Energy Principles and Practices in India,” Physics and Astronomy, led by Arjendu Patternayak. (Winter Break, 2016)

“India: Globalization and Local Responses,” Sociology & Anthropology, Women’s and Gender Studies, led by Meera Sehgal and Brendan LaRoque. (Winter Term, 2017)


“Microeconomic Development in Bangladesh,” Economics, led by Faress Bhuiyan. (Winter Break, 2017)

2016-onward: Carleton-Antioch Global Engagement program, “Buddhist Studies in Bodh Gaya, India.”

Other South Asia Programs available to students (examples):

Intercollegiate Summer Language Education (ISLE) Program: Kandy, Sri Lanka

ACM India: “Culture, Traditions, & Globallization,” Pune, India

ACM India: “Development Studies and Hindi Language,” Jaipur, India

Alliance for Summer Education: “Summer in Pune,” Pune, India

Alliance for Summer Education: Varanasi, India

SIT Study Abroad India (Several programs in Jaipur, New Delhi, and Dharamsala, India; Bedulu, Indonesia; and Kathmandu, Nepal)