Global South Asian Studies: A New Major

Students show off their henna.

South Asia encompasses a large region of the world and includes more than a quarter of the world’s population. Wesleyan’s new major, Global South Asian Studies, explores the cultures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives, and the Tibetan cultural world in a worldwide context. GSAS offers insights into these cultures through a multi-disciplinary lens, encouraging students to participate in courses in the fields of anthropology, art history, music performance and theory, cultural studies, creative writing, film studies, dance, history, literature, language, government, and religion to capture the diversity of South Asia’s global influence. Within these courses, students have the opportunity to foster their critical thinking skills using a variety of disciplinary methods and theories, including postcolonial critique, embodiment theory, and feminist and queer theory, all while gaining understanding of the relevant transnational dynamics. 

The program also strongly encourages and promotes opportunities outside of the classroom, including on-campus events as well as study abroad for cultural immersion and learning! The first of these events was the Inaugural GSAS Mela/Mixer, held on September 6, 2023. This outdoors event was an opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to celebrate the start of the semester and the creation of the Global South Asian Studies program and major. The participants enjoyed their snacks and conversations while shielding themselves from the summer sun under a shamiana, a South Asian ceremonial canopy commonly used for outdoor parties or functions. (

Find out about other upcoming GSAS events below!

Wednesday, September 27. 6-7:30 pm. Kareem Khubchandani/LaWhore Vagistan. Enjoy a drag performance by everyone’s “favorite desi drag auntie.”  This event is co-sponsored by GSAS alongside the departments of Music, Dance, Theater, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Fries Center for Global Studies.

4-8 October. Navratri: Sharada Navrati is one of the biggest and most religiously significant festivals celebrated in Hinduism. It is comprised of nine days in autumn, celebrating the nine forms of the Goddess Durga. ( This event is co-sponsored by GSAS alongside the Center for the Arts.

Students, staff, and faculty gather under a shamiana for the GSAS Inaugural Mela/Mixer.