Our department was founded as a Department of South and Southeast Asian Languages and Literatures. While we have grown into an interdisciplinary area studies department with specialized coverage of history, religion, and culture, our emphasis on textual traditions remains fundamental. We are committed to language training at the highest level, and to research that foregrounds textual analysis and archival sensitivity.
While our faculty and students are specialists and tend to focus in our research on specific disciplines, periods, and particular literary or national traditions, we all believe in the importance of thinking comparatively across the region of South and Southeast Asia. We understand that scholarly insight comes from interdisciplinary work and the ability to make that work relevant to a broadly trained community of scholars.