ISD14: Upstate South Asias: Citizenship, Comparison, & Equity


Joining resources across Syracuse University and NY6 schools--by coordinating teaching, research, language, and the abroad--to build a more robust ecosystem for South Asia's study in Upstate New York addressing challenges to democratic institutions.

Open to New People

Active since: 2023

  • Syracuse University
  • Colgate University
  • Hamilton College
  • Hobart & William Smith Colleges
  • Union College
  • Skidmore College
  • St. Lawrence University

Collaborative Goals

Whether with traditional lenses grounded in language & history or through contemporary approaches to marginalization & diaspora, no single institution in Upstate New York commands sufficient resources--whether faculty supply or student demand--to address the vast, textured political landscape of South Asia and the threats currently faced by its democratic institutions. Recovering the pre-pandemic momentum of the 2016-2019 "Affiliation Agreement for Shared Course Instruction in Hindi” between Syracuse University [SU] and the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium [NY6], "Upstate South Asias” aims to build cross-institutional capacities by focusing on the shared promise of citizenship, the methodological challenges of comparison, and the common goal of equity in order to steadily build a more robust ecosystem for South Asia's study in Upstate New York. Our focus, in order of administrative difficulty:

  • Teaching: Annual fall workshops hosted at SU will provide opportunities to discuss how to critically incorporate, while pushing beyond, common framings of empire, caste, postcolonialism, etc., to create syllabi focused on concerns like state access, hierarchical structures, public/ecological health, etc.
  • Research: Recurring lecture exchanges across SU/NY6--in both classroom and auditorium--to cross-pollinate expertise across South Asia on different campuses, providing faculty and students alike with a wider variety of interlocutors.
  • Language: Reimagine past sharing of language instruction between the federally supported South Asia Center at SU and the NY6, starting with Hindi, with the intent to offer additional less commonly taught languages, such as Urdu.
  • Abroad: Revitalize old SU/NY6 study abroad programs--damaged by the Great Recession & COVID-19 Pandemic--through consolidation of costs, revenue, infrastructure, and course credit transparency.

The above shared curricular project--combining short- & long-term goals--promises to support more meaningful Upstate South Asias.

Group Organizers

Nimanthi Rajasingham

Assistant Professor of English, Colgate University

Matthew Baxter

Regional Programs Manager, Asia, Moynihan Institute & Assistant Professor by Courtesy Appointment, Political Science, Syracuse University

Arsalan Khan

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Union College

Chaise LaDousa

Chair, the Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of Anthropology; Director of Education Studies, Hamilton College

Tillman Nechtman

Professor of History, Skidmore College

Aswini Pai

Archie F. MacAllaster and Barbara Torrey MacAllaster Professor, Associate Professor, Biology, St. Lawrence University

Vikash Yadav

Associate Professor of International Relations, Hobart and William Smith Colleges


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