South Asia Research Cluster (SARC)

South Asia contains one-fifth of the world’s population and is a key to planetary development – environmental – social – cultural – technological – political – in the twenty-first century.

Are you from South Asia? Studying South Asia in any way? Or just interested in South Asia? Or not currently interested but a little curious about it? Wolfson’s South Asia Research Cluster was formed in 2012 and, ever since, until covid19 temporarily shut us down, SARC has been open to all these kinds of interests in a way we think has been lively and generative. 

SARC is one of the homes for the study of South Asia in Oxford, with a wealth of South Asia scholars and a truly interdisciplinary approach.

SARC has organised a book launch series and book discussions (Ayesha Siddiqua, Maryam Aslany, Himanshu, Louise Tillin, Rana Dasgupta, Kaveri Qureshi, Christophe Jaffrelot, Akbar Zaidi, Shashank Kela, Tariq Rahman, Iftikhar Malik).

Student panels grill major researchers (Perry Anderson, Mujibur Rahman, Michael Walton, Vijay Joshi). 

Their work and engagement are discussed by Reserve Bank Governor (Y.V. Reddy), by critics and writers (Faisal Devji, Pankaj Mishra, Rohini Mohan, Dilip Simeon), journalists (Prem Shankar Jha, Shrenik Rao, Owen Bennett-Jones), politicians (Karan Bilmoria, Nafisa Shah), academic entrepreneurs (Raj Kumar), activists (Harsh Mander), film critiques  (Anil Zankar) and scientists (Pervez Hoodbhoy) to mention but a few. 

SARC organises work in progress seminars (Karuna WD, Kasturi Sen, Sarah Hodges, Tara van Dyjk) and discussions at all levels from work of graduate students to that of professors (Imre Bangha). 

Graduate students and JRFs may receive support to create workshops (Ali Jan, Iliyana Angelova, Lipika Kamra, Indrajit Roy, Ina Zarkevich). 

The Punjab Research Group uniting both sides has its annual event in Wolfson. Events on international relations with the Foreign Office have been held under Chatham House rules. 

We host public talks (Jan Breman, Assan Doron, George Kunnath). 

We show and discuss films and stage international conferences (Criminal Economy, Rohingyas, Agrarian Change, Pranab Bardhan’s classic political economy 30 years on, which resulted in the edited collection ‘Class and Conflict – revisiting Pranab Bardhan’s Political Economy of Development)’.  Several others of these conferences and workshops have generated books (‘Ground down by Growth’ ; ‘The Wild East’). 

From 2014 the college has hosted the annual Sarfraz lecture on an aspect of Pakistan (Asma Jahangir, William Dalrymple, Christophe Jaffrelot, Sharmeen Obaida-Chinoy, Pervez Hoodbhoy). 

SARC is a hub. We have cordial collaborative relations not only with university departments but also with other colleges – notably with Somerville’s Oxford-India Centre for Sustainable Development and we’ve worked closely with the new Earth Emergency Cluster in Wolfson itself.  Wider afield, we have arranged academic exchange visits with universities in Poland and Singapore. 

Over and above graduate students, Wolfson has a cross-disciplinary core of Fellows and expert common room members who specialise in South Asia. We welcome a constant stream of visiting scholars on sabbatical or holding research fellowships from elsewhere. You are warmly invited to participate in, and contribute to, SARC.

This cluster is no longer operational, please contact College Secretary for more information.