South Asia @ UNSW

UNSW Arts & Social Sciences has a vibrant network of scholars who research and teach in South Asian studies across a number of new and traditional humanities and social sciences disciplines, including:

  • anthropology
  • history
  • development studies
  • politics
  • international relations
  • media and literary studies
  • gender studies
  • race and ethnicity
  • the study of border regions, insurgency and militarism

Together, we conduct seminars and organise workshops to discuss research, working with established research clusters in the Faculty such as Imperial, Colonial and Transnational Histories, Asian Media Cultures and Globalisation and Governance.

Our activities align with the UNSW 2025 Strategic Plan which strongly supports research relevant to the Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific regions and a committment to building collaborative institutional and scholarly links with India.

Workshop: Encounters Within and Across South Asia - 13-14 July 2017

Encounters can be generative, sites for the production anew of relations, subjectivities, histories, communities, possibilities, and political-economic structures. They can also be destructive, producing conflict, friction and dispossession. Encounters can range from the everyday fleeting ones, such as an encounter with a stranger in the street, to the ones with the state through a government official. Encounters can also be prolonged, developing over years or centuries, such as the encounter of diasporic communities with majority populations. In encouraging the examination of different kinds of encounters, and different perspectives on similar encounters, the workshop will be an opportunity to develop new frameworks and understandings. The workshop will itself be an encounter between colleagues and between disciplines producing potentially transformative knowledge.


Registration is now closed for paper presenters. Non presenters must register by June 30. There is a small registration fee to assist with catering, with discounts for students, and SASAA members.

Register Here

SASAA member academic: $30

SASAA member student: Free

Non-member academic: $40

Non-member student: $20

SASAA Membership

The workshop is funded by the South Asian Studies Association of Australia. We encourage participants to join SASAA. Membership details can be found here.


The full program of events including panel and location details can be downloaded here:

Workshop Program

Tuesday 11th of July

‘Resurgence or End of Populism? Reflections ‘outside the West’
Professor Ashutosh Varshney will speak about populism in India organised by the Globalisation and Governance Research Network. Further details to follow.

Wednesday 12th of July

12.30pm-2.30pm South Asian Studies Association of Australia Annual General Meeting

3pm-5pm Public Seminar by Professor Purnima Mankekar organised by the Transnational Research Network at UNSW

6pm So What? Public Lecture: by Professor Ashutosh Varshney
India's Democracy: Electoral Vibrancy, Liberal Deficits. Facilitated by Matt Wade, Sydney Morning Herald.
Co-sponsored by the Globalisation and Governance Network, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences & UNSW International.

Thursday 13th of July

Master Classes: for Higher Degree by Research Students

9am-11.30am We will be holding masterclasses for Higher Degree Research students with Professors Ashutosh Varshney, Akhil Gupta and Purnima Mankekar. Please contact Tanya Jakimow for more information.


11.50am-4pm Workshop day 1: inclusive of panels (Capital, Class and Climate and Law and Security) and lunch (see full program above for more details)

4.30-6pm Keynote: by Professor Akhil Gupta

7pm Dinner: Lebanon and Beyond

Friday 14th of July

9am-4pm Workshop day 2: inclusive of panels (Encounters with the State, Self in Relation, and (Post)colonial Encounters), lunch, morning and afternoon tea (see full program above for more details)

11.30am-12.30pm Roundtable discussion: with Professors Ashutosh Varshney, Akhil Gupta, Purnima Mankekar, Ursula Rao, chaired by Ramaswami Harindranath

We are pleased to announce that SASAA funding will facilitate the participation of Professor Akhil Gupta (UCLA Anthropology), and Professor Purnima Mankekar (UCLA Gender Studies). A Faculty Distinguished Visitor Grant will facilitate the participation of Professor Ashutosh Varshney (Director of the Centre for Contemporary South Asia, Watson Institute, Brown University).

Affiliated staff


Staff associated with South Asia @ UNSW are actively involved in a range of national and international activities including conferences and other special events.

Events at UNSW

For a full list of upcoming and past South Asia events at UNSW, visit out events calendar.

View related events

Other activities

Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Kolkata Literary Fesitval

Associate Professor Kama Maclean spoke on the panel 'Lest We Forget: Rescuing Lost Histories' at the Appejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2017.

For more information visit the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival website

Strategic narratives of India's Rise

Wednesday 21 September 2016
Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, Wales

Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta will discuss how policy elites are (re)producing India as a 'rising' power to shape its identity in global politics, and in order to pursue specific foreign policy goals in relation to India at the domestic and international levels. 

Visit the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, website for more information.

Rising Powers and the EU - Seminar on Chinese and Indian Foreign Policy

6th September 2016
The Centre for European Politics, Surrey UK

Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta presented at a recent seminar on China and India's emerging foreign policy hosted by The Centre for European Politics on 6 September. 

Visit The Centre for European Politics website for more information.

Oceanic Conference on International Studies 2016

Dr Monika Barthwal-Datta co-convened a panel on 'Re-thinking Conflict, Peace and Security in IR: Perspectives from South Asia’ at the Oceanic Conference on International Studies (OCIS) 2016 annual conference in July with Dr Shweta Singh from South Asian University in New Delhi.

For more information visit the OCIS website

Publications and journals

South Asia Journal coverSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

UNSW is the home of South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, supporting its editor, Associate Professor Kama Maclean, in publishing interdisciplinary scholarly research on the region. Published since 1971, the journal was the first in South Asian studies and it maintains a proud tradition of publishing innovative, peer-reviewed articles, in four issues per year.

Australian Asian Studies Association South Asia Series

UNSW is also the host of the Australian Asian Studies Association South Asia book series edited by Professor Duncan McDuie-Ra and published by Routledge.

Teaching and research

UNSW Arts & Social Sciences offers two undergraduate courses on South Asia – Modern India (ARTS2210) and Powerful India (ARTS3212) – offering critical opportunities for research training (including honours) and student mentoring in the field, unavailable at any other institution in Australia.

Our network also collaborates to supervise higher degree research students that fall into our respective areas of expertise.

Recent and current higher degree students

  • John Zubrzycki: ‘Transnational exchanges in magical knowledge and methodologies, India and the west’
  • Mayuri Sengupta: ‘The Politics of Development among the Reang of Tripura’
  • Rabia Gul Ali: ‘Women and Empowerment Initiatives in Chitral, Pakistan'
  • Yvette Selim: ‘Transitional Justice in Nepal’
  • Matthew Wilkinson: ‘Sovereignty and Masculinity in Nagaland’
  • Roanna Gonsalves: ‘Up Sky Down Sky Middle Water: A collection of short fiction and Writers v/s Money: Negotiating the field of Indian literature in English'
  • John Solomon: ‘Identity Evolution in the Diaspora: the Gradual Disappearance of Untouchability and the Negotiation of Tamil Ethnicity in Singapore, 1819-1965’
  • Nayana Bibile: 'Cartographies of Resettlement: The Performativity of Containment and the Ontological Uncertainties of Certainty'
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