In response to Piyusha Mittal’s viewpoint (“Making Space for South Asian Culture,” Oct. 2, 2015, The Hoya), it is important to note that, over the course of the last year, Georgetown University and the School of Foreign Service Asian Studies Program have worked to engage South Asia in a more meaningful manner. The university offers a number of courses on India and South Asia in the fields of political science, anthropology, English literature, economics and development, history and theology. The university has, in the last couple of years, recruited a number of professors who study India closely as Georgetown increases its focus on South Asia. If one browses through the course selection page, the names Irfan Nooruddin, C. Christine Fair, Ashley Cohen, Touqir Hussain, Shareen Joshi, Nita Rudra, Ananya Chakravarti, Mubbashir Rizvi and Ariel Glucklich will all lead to courses being taught on South Asia.
As of 2014, the Georgetown-India Dialogue (www.guindiadialogue.com), a student-run organization, has taken the lead on India-related programming. The group, mentored by Professor Irfan Nooruddin and supported by the university, has hosted an extensive range of South Asian events on campus. In April 2014, Georgetown organized a conference on Kashmir, hosting Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as the main guest of honor. This semester, Georgetown held talks with a former Indian cabinet minister on India’s environment policy and a with a senior Indian businessman. The campus has seen unprecedented India-related programming. This is not to dismiss the need for the SFS and the university to further enhance its South Asian focus and meet the student demand for essential regional language skills. Courses in Hindi and Sanskrit, for example, are invaluable to students who wish to be experts on the region, and the Asian Studies Program is actively discussing with key parties to meet this need.
Beyond Rangila, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Asian Studies Program are working to provide more resources on the very critical region of South Asia on the Hilltop. There are going to be new and exciting things unveiled for South Asia on the academic and programming fronts with the intent to build on our current progress.
Yash Johri (SFS ’17) and Jeh Tirodkar (SFS ’16)