The ICLA Standing Research Committee on South Asian Literatures and Cultures was established in 2016; it continues the work of the former, time-limited Research Committee on Literary and Cultural Interrelationships Between India, Its Neighboring Countries and the World (first established in 2011 and active for two terms).
South Asia, consisting of eight nations – namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – has emerged as a major area of study among scholars from humanities, social sciences, international relations and religious thought in the last few decades. Though South Asia accounts for only 3% of the world’s land area, the region is home to 24% of the world population, making it one of the most populated areas in the world. Its linguistic, social, cultural and geographical diversity compounded by multiple religious faiths, pluralistic cultural traditions and diverse socio-political systems defy description or analysis along theoretical categories rooted in Western modernity. In the wake of post-structuralist and post-colonial interventions, the need to theorize the experiences and self-images of such cultures from the margins have assumed greater significance.
The present research group of the ICLA on South Asian Literatures and Cultures formed under the aegis of International Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI), hopes to contribute to the ongoing debates on the various aspects of South Asian studies by providing an international forum to scholars from within and outside South Asia to exchange their ideas, share research findings and engage in debates.
The following are the major objectives of this research group:
- To conduct in-depth study of the linguistic, social and cultural diversity of the region as manifested in its literary, philosophical and artistic traditions from antiquity to modern period;
- To facilitate greater dialogue and exchange of ideas between scholars of the region and the international scholars working on subjects related to South Asia;
- To identify emerging areas of research in South Asian studies and organize workshops, seminars and conferences devoted to them;
- To bring out publications on various aspects of South Asian society and culture creating a corpus of knowledge that reflects, and reflects on, contemporary perspectives from the region;
- To forge greater collaboration between academic institutions of South Asia and major international institutions across the world where the studies on South Asia are being conducted.
Prof. Chandra Mohan, General Secretary, Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI)
Prof. E.V. Ramakrishnan, Professor Emeritus, Central University of Gujarat, India; President, CLAI; Vice President, ICLA.