South and Southeast Asian Studies

University of California, Berkeley


The Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies offers programs of both undergraduate and graduate instruction in the languages and cultures of South and Southeast Asia. It offers opportunities to explore the rich cultural, social, and religious histories as well as the living contemporary cultures of these areas. The curriculum covers modern cultural history, the classical literary canon, religious literature, folk and popular works, oral traditions and performance media (including recitation, musical and dramatic performance, dance, media, and film), and modern literatures of the colonial and post-colonial period. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary linkages by pursuing courses offered by the South and Southeast Asia faculty in other departments at UC Berkeley. Students are also encouraged to pursue courses and independent readings that will acquaint them with pertinent methods in the various disciplines such as contemporary literary theory, ethnographic theory, historiography, and cultural studies. Appropriate comparative work on Asian and non-Asian cultures is encouraged as well.


One of the world's leading institutes for research and programs on South Asia, the Institute for South Asia Studies at UC Berkeley works with faculty members, graduate students, community members, private institutions, and nonprofit organizations to deepen understanding of the region and to create new generations of scholars of South Asia.

The Center for Southeast Asia Studies (CSEAS) is one of the oldest and most prominent academic centers concerned with Southeast Asia in the United States. CSEAS functions as an administrative base to promote the expansion of Southeast Asian studies on the Berkeley campus by facilitating faculty and graduate research, presenting campus lecture series and cultural programs, organizing public outreach and international conferences, and hosting visitors and scholars from around the world.

The Center for Buddhist Studies oversees a variety of research programs, scholarly events, and outreach activities, often in collaboration with units on and off campus. Activities include a colloquium series, conferences, a visiting scholar program, a film series (with the PFA), the Numata Visiting Professorship, and the International Buddhist Film Festival (with the Buddhist Film Society).

The Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS) is an Organized Research Unit that serves as the focal point for all of UC Berkeley programs related to East Asia and the Pacific. Frequently ranked first in depth and breadth among all such programs in the nation, East Asian Studies at Berkeley is a unique national resource and an invaluable asset for California and the West Coast.

Undergraduate Programs

South and Southeast Asian Studies: BA (with concentrations in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Indonesian, Khmer, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, or Vietnamese), Minor

Graduate Programs

South and Southeast Asian Studies: MA, PhD

Visit Department Website


Languages and Culture:


South and Southeast Asian Studies

Southeast Asian Studies

South Asian Studies



















Faculty and Instructors

* Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Lisandro Claudio, Assistant Professor. History of non-Western liberalism, using the Philippines as a case study .

Lawrence Cohen, Professor. Social cultural anthropology, medical and psychiatric anthropology, critical gerontology, lesbian and gay studies, feminist and queer theory.
Research Profile

Jacob Dalton, Professor. Religion, ritual, Tibet, Buddhism, Tantra, Dunhuang.
Research Profile

Penelope S. C. Edwards, Associate Professor. Cambodian cinema, Chinese cinema in Southeast Asia, Moveable Easts, constructions of Buddhism in France and Empire.
Research Profile

* Munis D. Faruqui, Associate Professor. Mughal India, Delhi Sultanate, Islam in South Asia/India, Urdu.
Research Profile

* Robert P. Goldman, Professor. Literary theory, South and Southeast Asian studies, Sanskrit literature, Indian epic studies, and psychoanalytically oriented cultural studies.
Research Profile

Vasugi Kailasam, Assistant Professor. Global Tamil literature, postcolonial literature and filmic and digital cultures of contemporary South Asia and its diasporas, narrative forms and its connections to South Asian cultural identity formations, race and ethnic politics. .
Research Profile

Rahul Parson, Assistant Professor. Hindi Literature and Culture.

Sugata Ray, Associate Professor. Climate change, early modern, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean, art history, environment, globalization, ecology, Eco Art History, global art history.
Research Profile

Sylvia C. Tiwon, Associate Professor. Indonesia, South and Southeast Asian studies, literature and gender, cultural studies of Southeast Asia, discourse oral, print, electronic, socio-cultural formations at the national and sub-nation level, non-governmental organizations.
Research Profile

Alexander Von Rospatt, Professor. Ritual studies, Nepalese studies, Buddhist traditions of South Asia, doctrinal history, Newar Buddhism.
Research Profile

Peter B. Zinoman, Associate Professor. Vietnam, Vietnam War, Vietnamese literature, Southeast Asian history, communism, nationalism, colonialism.
Research Profile


Gregory Bruce, Lecturer.

Abhijeet Paul, Lecturer.

Cynthia Agnes C. Aban, Lecturer.

Maria Barrios-Leblanc, Lecturer.

Supatra Chowchuvech, Lecturer.

* Sally J. Goldman, Senior Lecturer. Women's studies, South and Southeast Asian studies, buddhist Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Sanskrit language, valmiki ramayana translation project, South Asian women, epic and classical Sanskrit literature, vyakarana or Sanskrit grammar, Veda.
Research Profile

Karen Llagas, Lecturer.

Ninik Lunde, Lecturer. Linguistics, comparative literature, South and Southeast Asian studies, Indonesian language, Javanese, Balinese and Sumatranese dances.
Research Profile

Nora Melnikova, Lecturer.

Cam Nguyen, Lecturer.

Bharathy Sankara Rajulu, Lecturer.

Francis J. Smith, Lecturer.

Hanh Tran, Lecturer.

Upkar K. Ubhi, Lecturer. Architecture, South and Southeast Asian studies, Punjabi, curriculum developments, marketing trends, building arts.
Research Profile

Kenneth Wong, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

George L. Hart, Professor Emeritus. South and Southeast Asian studies, Tamil studies, classical Sanskrit, South Indian religion and culture, Indian civilization, Indian literature, Indian religion.
Research Profile

Usha R. Jain, Senior Lecturer Emeritus.

Padmanabh S. Jaini, Professor Emeritus.

* James A. Matisoff, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, Japanese, Southeast Asian languages, Tibeto-Burman, Thai, Chinese, field linguistics, Yiddish studies, historical semantics, psychosemantics, language typology, areal linguistics.
Research Profile

Bruce R. Pray, Professor Emeritus.

Joanna Williams, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies

7233 Dwinelle Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720-2540

Phone: 510-642-4218

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Paula Varsano

7233 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 5106424218

Undergraduate Advisor

Presi Diaz

3409 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-3480

Graduate Advisor

Kristen Brooks

3411 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-4219

Back to Top