UW-Madison Center for South Asia Celebrates 50 Years at UW

The launching of Sputnik I in 1957 led to the federal government’s most significant participation in modern foreign language and area studies research and training in history – the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958. The first NDEA grant to expand language and area studies in the UW-Madison Department of Indian Studies was acquired in 1960. With this grant, the UW-Madison South Asia Area Center (later renamed the Center for South Asia) was established.

A number of celebratory activities are planned for later in the year, some to coincide with the Annual Conference on South Asia in October 2010.

Center for South Asia Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Center for South Asia Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The center is affiliated with the  National Resource Center (NRC) Program which has been supported by the Department of Education under Title VI of the NDEA since 1965. National Resource Centers like the Center for South Asia conduct a broad range of activities that include instruction, outreach, scholarly research, maintenance of library resources, and teacher training. Collectively, these activities represent a programmatic effort that focuses on particular regions of the world and the relevant issues connected to those regions, and they constitute a national capacity in modern foreign language training and area and international studies. UW-Madison has the largest number of NRCs in the country, tied with the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Washington-Seattle.

College Year in India:

The roots of the popular College Year in India in Varanasi program were planted in 1960. Two years later, the three pillars of the program were established:

1) a prior summer of language training in the US

2) a second-year of language training in India

3) an independent fieldwork project to be completed in India.

The College Year in India Program opened its admissions to students from any accredited college or university in the United States or Canada in 1963-64. Since fall 2010, students also have a semester-only option available to them. For more information, please visit www.studyabroad.wisc.edu.

For more information, please e-mail Lalita du Perron, associate director, Center for South Asia at duperron@southasia.wisc.edu or phone 608-262-3209.