The establishment of the South Asia Centre (SAC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science in June 2015 marks a milestone in the more than 100-year-old relationship between the School and the region. Through this initiative, LSE will deepen its engagement with South Asia, prioritise global knowledge exchange, and further its outreach efforts.
A Centre devoted to the study of South Asia will provide a platform from which to launch a coordinated and sustained engagement with the region.
More than 70 LSE academics currently work on South Asia, seeking innovative solutions to the region’s economic, demographic, and development challenges.
The South Asia Centre will lead the School’s long-term engagement with South Asia by facilitating multi-disciplinary approaches and comparative research by LSE academics.
The South Asia Centre will:
Develop and coordinate new research projects and collaborations
Provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge between UK and South Asia-based academics
Expand academic engagement with new South Asian partners
Host public events, including lectures and seminars
Facilitate online debate on South Asian issues, through blogs and social media
Forecast political, economic, environmental and development trends across the region
Organise events to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani independence
The South Asia Centre’s primary contribution will be to incubate and support comparative and cross-disciplinary research projects. To this end, the Centre will develop thematic research priorities, building on the existing work of LSE academics.
Current research themes include:
Poverty and Inequality
South Asia and LSE
The launch of the South Asia Centre will be the latest development in the long shared history between LSE and the region, especially India.
LSE’s history with India starts with the School’s founding. A gift by the Indian industrialist Sir Ratan Tata in 1912 made the development of applied social studies possible, and led to the establishment of the Department of Social Science at the School, which initiated research into the causes of poverty. Ralf Dahrendorf, former director of the LSE, referred to the association between India and LSE as a story of soul mates.
Many famous Indians have passed through LSE over the decades. The most prominent include Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, a founding father of the Indian constitution, and ex-President KR Narayanan. Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen is an LSE Honorary Fellow and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was an Honorary Fellow of the Asia Research Centre.
Students from India and Pakistan jointly comprise one of the largest international contingents on campus. Each year, these students bring South Asia to LSE by organising India Week and Pakistan Week on campus.
Numerous academic initiatives and fellowships also seek to promote the study of South Asia at the LSE. The International Growth Centre manages several policy research programmes based in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
The establishment of the South Asia Centre will further intensify LSE’s institutional engagement with South Asia and help develop strong links with South Asian academic institutions and government.