The main goal of the Center for South Asian Studies is to promote interdisciplinary research on South Asia and the diaspora, and assist undergraduates as well as graduate students to develop a focus on past and present societies and cultures of South Asia. Currently, Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, and Persian are offered through the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures.

The Center’s activities enrich the university’s unique focus on Asia and the Pacific. The objective of the Center for South Asian Studies, since its creation in 1985, has been to bridge disciplinary approaches to the study of South Asia in the humanities, social sciences, and applied sciences. The Center draws on the expertise and interest of approximately forty distinguished UH system faculty whose research interests spread over all of South Asia, its neighbors, and its diasporic communities, to foster awareness within the university and the community of South Asia’s rich cultural heritage, its history, its languages, and its contemporary economic and political landscape.

South Asia has been an academic focus at the University of Hawai‘i for over fifty years, beginning with the establishment of the Oriental Institute in 1935 and a still ongoing series of East-West Philosophers’ Conferences in 1939.

This emphasis continued with the establishment of the journal, Philosophy East and West, in 1951, and the Asian Studies Program.

The Center for South Asian Studies was created in 1985.