CSAC provides a space where faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community at large participate in its events and together create research collaborations focused on South Asia from a transdisciplinary perspective. Based at UTM, the Centre supports tricampus humanities research on the history and cultural artifacts of South Asia drawing on the diverse research strengths of the core faculty, including critical philology, ethnography of religion, premodern and colonial history, visual and material culture, and the archaeology of prehistory and historical societies.
The Centre draws on the unique research strengths of our faculty. The University of Toronto Mississuaga is one of only two universities in the English-speaking world to have a position in Zoroastrianism and the only university in Canada with a faculty member teaching and researching South Asian Archaeology. UTM is home to the Yehan Numata Program in Buddhist Studies, one of the world’s most prestigious international academic lecture and conference programs for the study of Buddhism. The Toronto Initiative for Iranian Studies (TIIS) funds conferences and workshops focused on the study of Iran and Persianate culture extending to South Asia.
We emphasize experiential learning about the diverse cultures of South Asia not only in the classroom but also through digital and oral histories of the South Asian diaspora in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and student exchange programs to South Asia. There is strong student interest in South Asia at the University of Toronto Mississauga--in the Department of Historical Studies alone, over 1500 students take South Asia-related courses every year. UTM has one of the most vibrant for-credit research programs in Canada, and students are currently involved in the research involving the preservation, study and analysis of South Asian texts in original languages.
The Centre for South Asian Civilizations offers support for a trans-departmental Minor in South Asian Civilizations, through which students may take a range of courses in several UTM departments. The Minor complements the existing Minor program in South Asian Studies based at the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) in the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto St. George (UTSG).
The Centre is distinguished by its emphasis on University-Community partnerships — the reciprocal relationship of faculty and students working with local communities along with institutions, scholars and communities in South Asia.