University of Minnesota
Asian Languages & Literature

Asian Languages and Literature.

South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies


The curriculum incorporates traditional approaches of classical philology and contemporary literary and cultural studies for the study of South Asia. It also allows for comparative engagements with other literary traditions, especially those of other Asian regions and those that have otherwise historically intersected with Indian forms of thought and practice in ancient or modern times. We also engage with the historical constitution of the region, how it has related to other geographies, and the consequences this has had for the way in which South Asia figures in the world of knowledge today.


Just as advanced study in Asian Languages and Literatures does not exclude classical approaches to literary study (of whichever region), it also does not exclude contemporary theoretical reflections on questions of cultural form, representation, history, power, language and media that have arisen transnationally. Whatever the approach, courses are designed to advance reading in primary texts, evaluating commentaries, producing translations and attaining proficient knowledge of social, cultural and political contexts relevant to the objects of study. We also encourage research in areas that are emergent and so far have not had much support in more traditional area studies programs. Included here is work that bridges media (such as film and literature), involves linkages betweens regions (on account of migration or media distribution), and intersects disciplines (more below), or reflects contemporary issues of gender (involving issues of representation and political ideologies)


We encourage disciplinary alignments beyond simply Asian studies, such as comparative literary, cultural, feminist, or media studies. Conversely, it is possible for both undergraduate and graduate students in other departments at the university to minor in Asian Languages and Literatures if their studies involve focusing on any one of the languages or literatures offered.

ALCM Faculty

Simona Sawhney, Associate Professor
South Asian literature; Sanskrit literature; Post-Colonial Literature and Theory; Literary Theory

Catherine Asher, Professor, Art History
Afghanistan art; Hindu monuments; Imperial patronage; India; Indian art; Indian sculpture; Islamic and South Asian art and culture; Muslim art; Temples; The construction of public monuments; Islamic art

Jigna Desai, Associate Professor, Gender, Woman and Sexuality Studies
Asian American literature and media; Feminist theory; Postcolonial studies; Queer/sexuality studies; South Asian diasporas; Critical disability studies, autism, neuronormativity

Keya Ganguly, Professor, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature
South Asian film and culture; Frankfurt school; Sociology of culture; Marxism; Film and visual studies; Postcolonial theory and criticism

Richa Nagar, Professor, Gender, Woman and Sexuality Studies
Politics of development; Feminisms and praxis; People's movements

Ajay Skaria, Associate Professor, History
Colonialism; Environmental history; Indian History; Satipati; South Asia

Non-Affiliated South Asia Faculty

John Archer, Professor, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

Frederick Asher, Professor, Art History

Iraj Bashiri, Professor, History

Timothy Brennan, Professor, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, and English

Ananya Chatterjea, Professor, Theatre Arts and Dance

Vinay Gidwani, Associate Professor, Geography and Institute for Global Studies

Michael Goldman, Associate Professor, Sociology and Institute for Global Studies

Qadri Ismail, Associate Professor, English

Indira Junghare, Professor, Institute of Linguistics

Jean Langford, Associate Professor, Anthropology

Gloria Raheja, Professor, Anthropology and Institute for Global Studies

Arun Saldanha, Associate Professor, Geography

Resources and Activities

In conjunction with ALL and ALCM, there are a handful of established institutions at the University of Minnesota that foster research and activities that relate to South Asia scholarship.