LLC23 Social and Cultural Sustainability in South Asia


We are an interdisciplinary core group of twelve faculty members from four Corridor institutions, each working on different aspects of sustainability in South Asia. The Corridor institutions represented are Syracuse University (5 faculty), Cornell University (3), the University of Rochester (1), and Colgate University (3).

Active since: 2019

  • Syracuse University
  • Cornell University

Collaborative Goals

We are focused specifically on one of the four "pillars" of sustainability -- socio-cultural sustainability -- which typically receives far less attention and import than the other three pillars (political, environmental, and economic). Cultural sustainability concerns issues of both change and preservation and engages debates about cultural heritage. Those of us who swim in humanist waters know that all four domains of sustainability are deeply interconnected. A crisis, challenge or threat in one domain affects all the others, and addressing that threat requires attention to all four. We are interested in putting the arts, language and literature, architecture, beliefs and rituals, and community well-being in conversation with environmental and economic sustainability in addressing significant challenges in South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).

This culturally focused (people-focused) Working Group is part of a larger project led by the National Resource Center Consortium on South Asia of Cornell University and Syracuse University (funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title VI) that will focus on Sustainable South Asia over the next four years. Consortium programming will include lectures, curriculum development, and a symposium. The Social and Cultural Sustainability Working Group will ensure that humanists have a voice in this interdisciplinary initiative.

We hope that this initial group of twelve will be the catalyst for writing, presentation, curriculum, and even collaborative research projects concernning humanist perspectives on the subcontinent and its future.

All twelve of these core members of the Working Group have committed to attend our first event, proposed here, an afternoon planning retreat and dinner in the spring of 2019 at Syracuse University. That retreat will include lightning talks from each participant and discussion about how we want to approach the issue of social and cultural sustainability in South Asia through future events.

Group Organizers

Carol Babiracki

Associate Professor of Music History & Cultures

Iftikhar Dadi

Associate Professor, History of Art & Visual Studies

Karim-Aly Kassam

International Professor of Environmental and Indigenous Studies