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South Asia Studies MA Handbook

July 31, 2015

South Asia Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies Graduate Student Handbook 2015-16

Welcome to the South Asia Studies Program at the Jackson School of International Studies. The two-year program in South Asia Studies will equip students with intensive language training, expose students to the most important debates and ideas in South Asia Studies, and give students a chance to stretch their analytic abilities and writing skills by completing either two intensive research papers or a final thesis.

The faculty in our program spans the social sciences, humanities, and professional schools. Apart from learning through coursework and interactions with UW faculty, the South Asia Studies Program organizes many speakers, conferences, film screenings, and other events throughout the year that bring scholars and guests from other universities in the US and around the world to our campus in Seattle. We encourage students to attend as many of these events as possible.

This handbook contains information about the South Asia Studies Program’s procedures, guidelines, and resources. Understanding these thoroughly will be the best way to ensure that students succeed in this program and graduate on time.

Sunila S. Kale
Chair, South Asia Studies Program


Advising and Resources


Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC), Christian L. Novetzke
Thomson Hall 303c,

The GPC, is the faculty adviser for the first year of the program and will help students determine a suitable faculty mentor for the second year. Students should meet with their faculty adviser at least once a quarter. By the fourth quarter in the program (autumn quarter of the second year), students should establish a Supervisory Committee to advise completing the final requirements of the program.

JSIS Graduate Program Adviser (GPA), Paula Milligan
Thomson Hall 116,

The Graduate Program Advisor, or GPA, guides students and provides advice on procedures and requirements for graduating from the Jackson School. For quick questions, student may come during drop-in hours (Mondays 9:30-11:30 am or Thursdays 2-4 pm). For appointments book on-line:

South Asia Center Managing Director, Keith Snodgrass
Thomson Hall 303,

The South Asia Center arranges for speakers, colloquia, and other on campus events for graduate students. Additionally, it is an excellent resource for information on language programs and fellowship opportunities. Contact Keith via email to be added to the graduate student email lists.

FLAS Coordinator, Robyn Davis
Thomson Hall 126,

Every autumn the FLAS Coordinator organizes FLAS information sessions for students ahead of the winter application deadline, which usually falls in mid-January. She is also available to meet with students in person and will answer questions via email about applying for and receiving FLAS fellowships.


UW Library South Asia Studies Librarian, Deepa Bannerjee
Email for an appointment

The University of Washington has one of the best collections of South Asia related materials in the country. Materials are housed in many different buildings across campus. Deepa specializes in the South Asia related collections housed at the university, including the vast digital resources. Deepa is willing to meet with students to provide introductions to South Asia collections and resources, customize and tailor research inquiries, and provide general guidance on graduate student research. She also maintains the South Asia subject guide on the library website:


JSIS Career Services & Alumni Relations Director, John Charlton
Thomson Hall 124,

The Career Services Office organizes events on campus with employers, as well as provides support for students seeking internships and preparing to enter the job market upon completion of their degree.


JSIS Computer Specialist, Mark Haslam
Thomson Hall 408C,

For technical or software problems with the computers in the Jackson School, contact Mark.

JSIS Graduate Student Reading Room
Thomson Hall 311

This is a good place to check email, study, and meet other students. The reading room has desktop computers and a printer available for student use, and a small kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave. Students may use the printers after paying a quarterly fee for paper and supplies to the GPA. Students should take their UW student ID at the beginning of the year to Mark Haslam in Thomson 408C to gain access. Additionally, students will be assigned mailboxes in which they may receive campus mail (Please note most correspondence will be via email).

JSIS Student Services Office
Thomson Hall 111

Students also can find forms for independent study and thesis credits at the Student Services Office. Finally, contact Student Services to access the lockers in Thomson for storing books and other materials to leave on campus. Students must provide their own lock.


Program Guidelines

Degree Requirements

Our program is designed so that students can complete this degree within two years. There are three main sets of requirements.

  1. complete coursework (36 credits)
  2. demonstrate language proficiency (the equivalent of 3rd year proficiency in a South Asian language)
  3. establish a Supervisory Committee that will evaluate the final writing assignment (two research papers OR a master’s thesis), and administer an oral exam.

 1. Coursework

An average load per quarter for Jackson School graduate students is 12-15 credits or 3-4 courses, depending on credits per course. In the second year, some students take fewer courses as they begin to focus on their final paper(s). If students are receiving a scholarship or fellowship, financial aid, or hold a TA or RA position, they must carry at least 10 credits a quarter. International students must be registered for 10 credits per quarter in order to maintain their F-1 status. Students receiving FLAS fellowships must be enrolled full time; this includes a minimum of one 5-credit language course and one 5-credit South Asia area studies course in each quarter. It is the student’s responsibility to meet the requirements of any scholarship or fellowship they are awarded.

Students are not required to take a full course load every quarter, but taking a reduced load during Autumn Quarter of the first year may result in a competitive disadvantage for fellowship consideration. It is difficult for the fellowship committee to assess scholastic performance if a student has only taken one or two courses.

Required Courses (15 credits taken during the first year of the program)

JSIS A 508/Interdisciplinary Study of South Asia I: Intensive survey seminar taken in the first year; offered Autumn quarter only (5 credits).

JSIS A 509/Interdisciplinary Study of South Asia II: Continuation of the intensive survey seminar taken in the first year; offered Winter quarter only (5 credits).

JSIS A 510/Seminar on South Asia This course is designed to provide each student an opportunity to synthesize his or her studies through research and writing on an individual research topic; offered Spring quarter only (5 credits).

Recommended Course

JSIS 594/JSIS Director’s Course: International & Area Studies: Exposes first-year graduate students to the four-fold thematic intellectual rubric of the school, and to the wide range of teaching and research agendas represented in the Jackson School. Recommended common course for all JSIS first-year graduate and doctoral students; offered Autumn quarter only (2 credits)

Other Coursework (21 additional credits)

The remaining 21 credits must include coursework from at least two different departments at the 400, 500, 600, and 700 levels, at least 8 of which must be at the 500 level and above.

Of the 21 credits, 10 credits can be taken in classes unrelated to South Asia. Ideally, these courses will complement a student’s degree goals, either by fulfilling disciplinary or professional objectives. Students are advised to select courses in consultation with their GPC or adviser to ensure that both individual and program goals are met.

Students selecting the thesis option must register for a minimum of 9 thesis credits in the second year. Thesis credits can be done over multiple quarters or all at once, and there is no limit to the number of thesis credits students may take.

300 level courses do not qualify for graduate credit at the UW Graduate School and should only be used when required for future academic or professional goals, and when other courses fulfill both program and Graduate School requirements. Some professors may be willing to work with students on a 600-level independent study course, in which students will attend and complete the assignments for the 300-level course and also complete additional work that brings the course up to gradate-level standards. “Independent Study” forms are available in the Office of Student Services.

 Registration & Planning Course Schedule

Registration for classes begins in the middle of the preceding quarter (e.g. middle of Spring Quarter for Autumn). Course offerings on South Asia, which contain course descriptions for the upcoming quarter, are available on the South Asia Center website:

South Asia graduate students will be eligible to register in the first Registration Period. Registering early will usually ensure that students can enroll in preferred classes. Few, if any, classes on South Asia are offered Summer Quarter. Students should meet with their faculty adviser (the Graduate Program Coordinator in the first year, and the committee chair in the second) before registering each quarter.

 Incomplete Course Work

Graduate school is demanding, intellectually and emotionally, and students sometimes struggle to balance life and academic studies. If encountering difficulty, students can consult their course professor, program advisor, and/or GPC.  We strongly discourage students from taking “incompletes” in their courses, although the option is available if necessary.

2. Language Proficiency

Students must achieve third-year proficiency in a South Asian language as part of the degree requirement, although language courses do not count towards the 36 credits required to complete the degree.

Students who enter the program with no prior training in a South Asian language will likely need to complete at least one intensive summer language course in order to satisfy the language requirement within two years. Beginning, intermediate and advanced levels for Bengali, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, and Urdu are taught during the academic year. Summer language study opportunities are available at other institutions in the US, such as the University of Wisconsin, and in South Asia. The program will work with students in an effort to provide partial or full funding for such programs if possible. Please note, it is the student’s responsibility to apply for admission and funding in a timely manner for summer language study. Students may also choose to apply for a nine-month language course in South Asia during the academic year, which may extend a student’s MA timetable by a year.

Students who enter the program with advanced proficiency in a South Asian language (usually indicating fluent reading, writing, and speaking abilities) may contact the GPC about testing out of the language requirement. We encourage these students to increase their language abilities by studying a second South Asian language during their program.

Students who are uncertain about what level of language to take should contact the department of Asian Languages and Literature ;<> for advice.

3. Supervisory Committee, Final Writing Requirement, and Oral Exam

Supervisory Committee

Students must identify a faculty adviser by the end of their 3rd quarter in the program, and must form a Supervisory Committee by the middle of the 4th quarter. The Supervisory Committee should consist of at least two faculty members who have had a chance to get to know the student’s work and who have expertise in a relevant area of concentration. These two members of the Supervisory Committee must be Graduate Faculty (see; students may select a third member who may or may not be Graduate Faculty. The purpose of this committee is to advise students in the latter stages of the program. Committee members serve as consultants and mentors as students write theses or write and revise MA papers and they serve as examiners for the oral defense. Students should make sure that their committee members will be available in the quarters when they need them for advisory work, independent study, and exams.

To establish the Supervisory Committee, students must file the Supervisory Committee Form. This establishes a record that areas of concentration, committee members, and papers / thesis option are acceptable to the GPC of the South Asia Studies program, and that committee members have agreed to undertake supervision of the student’s program. Once students file the form with all of the requisite signatures, the primary advisor becomes the chair of the committee.

Students should ask their committee members to clarify their expectations of how and when to demonstrate progress towards completion of the papers or thesis. The timelines that follow are guidelines for completion that will enable students to meet the University of Washington’s Graduate School deadlines. The Supervisory Committee may require additional drafts and earlier submission dates.

For a guide to the student’s role as an advisee and the faculty supervisor’s role as Mentor, see the UW’s “Guidelines for Good Practice in Graduate Education”

Final Writing Requirements

Students have the option of submitting either two revised seminar papers (Option A) or an original thesis (Option B) to their supervisory committee, and must pass a comprehensive oral examination. Students should have selected an advisor by the end of the first year and selected the second committee member by the end of the first quarter of the second year.

Option A: Two Papers

Option A is an appropriate selection for anyone who intends to pursue future studies or for whom the MAIS in South Asian Studies will be a terminal degree. Students will prepare two papers of at least 25 pages each (6,000 words + references) which should be in a standard academic format. The papers should be seminar papers significantly revised to incorporate comments from the faculty who commented on the original version and comments from the Supervisory Committee members as appropriate. Students may register for JSIS 600: Independent Study with a member of their committee to get credit for work done on these revisions. It is wise to have at least one of these papers completely revised and approved by the Supervisory Committee by the quarter before the student plans to graduate.

Timetable for Final Quarter

6th week    Submit final drafts of papers to committee members

8th week    Submit SA MAIS Exam Scheduling Form to Graduate Program Advisor

10th week  Oral Exam of Papers

11th week  Complete any required revisions to papers

                     Submit copies of papers to South Asia Center for South Asia program archive

                     Submit warrant to GPA by 4:00 Thursday

Option B: Thesis

Students interested in writing a thesis should indicate that interest to his or her advisor and/or GPC early, preferably in the first year. The primary thesis adviser will be the chair of the supervisory committee, but students should consult with each member of their committee as they develop the thesis and prepare to defend it in a comprehensive oral exam. The thesis can begin as a seminar paper or an Independent Study project. Students who have selected this option will register for 9 thesis credits (JSIS 700: Thesis) during the second year in the Master’s program.  Theses usually range between 80-120 pages (25,000 words + references) and must be formatted as per University of Washington Graduate School requirements:

Timetable for Final Quarter

2nd week    Submit rough draft of thesis to committee members

6th week     Submit defense draft of thesis to committee members (complete and formatted as per Graduate School requirements)

                     Submit SA MAIS Exam Scheduling Form to the GPA

8th week     Oral Exam of Thesis

11th week    Finish any required revisions & have thesis Signature Page signed by all committee members

                     Submit copy of Supervisory Committee Approval Form to GPA by 4:00p Thursday

                     Upload thesis on to ETD site to Graduate School by 5:00p Friday

                     Provide committee members bound copy of thesis

                     Provide South Asia Center office with hard copy of thesis for South Asia Program archive


Oral Exam

The oral exam is given by the members of the supervisory committee. It covers the student’s area of concentration and program coursework and focuses on issues that arise in relation to the two papers or the thesis. It will take approximately 1.5 hours. Students should consult each member of their committee prior to the exam to clarify what to expect and how to review for the exam.

Once the supervisory committee has accepted the student’s final papers or thesis, the student must set a date and time with them for the oral examination. When this is established, students must complete an Oral Exam Scheduling Form, which are available from the GPA. After the chair of the supervisory committee and the GPC have signed the form, students must submit this to the GPA (Paula Milligan), who will schedule a room and notify everyone involved.

The GPA will prepare the student’s file for the oral exam. Students should make an appointment with the GPA the quarter before graduation to ensure that this review produces no surprises, and to review procedures for finishing the program. The Graduate School will be informed of any course work necessary to meet departmental requirements for which the student has not yet received a grade, and graduation will be finalized after these grades are received.

Prior to the oral exam, the student’s file will be given to the chair.  Aside from providing a record of the work done in the program, the file will also contain the Oral Exam Completion Form and the Warrant for Master’s Degree. Both of these documents must be signed by the committee members following the successful completion of the oral examination, and will remain in the file. For those in Option A, the committee’s signatures on these this will signify that the student’s graduation is approved, and the GPC will notify the Graduate School that graduation may be finalized.  For those in Option B, a copy of the signed signature page also must be given to the GPC by 4:00 on the last day of the quarter.


Applying to Graduate

To graduate, students must apply through the Graduate School’s degree application website: The application period commences the first day of the quarter of graduation. The Graduate School allows students to apply for their degree through the 10th Sunday of the quarter (8th, in Summer), however, the Jackson School requires that students apply for the degree by the 7th Sunday of the quarter.

The Graduate School will send an email confirmation of applications for Master’s Degree and inform the student of Graduate School requirements that must be met by the end of the quarter in which the student intends to graduate. The Graduate Program Adviser (Paula Milligan) will be notified of the application for Master’s Degree and will enter information detailing departmental requirements that must be met. This will generate an email from the Graduate School which will inform the student of departmental requirements.

If students do not finish in the quarter they applied to graduate, they will have to apply again. Students must be registered for at least two credits in the quarter they intend to graduate.

It is important for students to maintain status as a student until graduation. To do this, students must be registered for every quarter except Summer Quarter, or be formally on leave.


On-Leave Status

Graduate students are required to maintain graduate status during their program of study. Failure to maintain this status requires application to the South Asia Studies program for reinstatement to the University of Washington Graduate School and a fee if $250.  Students who desire to take a quarter or quarters off without going through the reinstatement process must apply for on-leave status for each quarter they do not register. For complete details regarding the on-leave policy, refer to Graduate School Memorandum 9:


Fellowship Applications & Financial Aid

Students can apply for most fellowships offered through the Jackson School with one application (International and Area Studies Fellowship Application). The online application will be available by November. This application will include the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and others. EVERY MAIS SA student should apply for a FLAS unless she/he already has other fellowship support or is not a US citizen or permanent resident. Awards are made in mid-April for the following summer and/or academic year. Students may be eligible to apply for the Conlon Fellowship and the India Association of Western Washington Scholarship offered through the South Asia Program.

Specific questions concerning FLAS should be addressed to the FLAS Coordinator. Questions concerning the other fellowships covered by this application should be addressed to the Student Services Office.

Faculty evaluations and grades earned at the UW are of particular importance to JSIS fellowship committees, so it is helpful to carry a full load of relevant courses and do well in them. It is important to make good progress towards the degree before applying, and students must continue this progress if they receive a JSIS fellowship.

For information on need-based financial aid, check with the Financial Aid Office in Schmitz Hall and online: http://www. washing­

Students may be eligible to apply for the Conlon Fellowship and the India Association of Western Washington Scholarship offered through the South Asia Program:


Library & Computer Resources

Computer equipment, cameras, and more are available for students to borrow in Kane Hall. For up to date information on campus computer labs, technology support and resources for students visit:

The Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) in Savery 145 offers consultation on computer services for JSIS students:

UW Libraries house a wealth of South Asia resources, including immigrant oral histories, image collections, and digital newspaper collections. For more information on collections visit the South Asia Studies research guide:

For information on citation styles please visit:


Jackson School Graduate Student Council

The Jackson School Graduate Student Council was formed to promote better communication among programs. Over the years, in addition to its success with funding equipment, JSGC has greatly improved the facilities in the Graduate Reading Room and organized several social gatherings for the whole school.

JSGC seeks representatives from each of the graduate programs to serve on this Council. The group meets periodically throughout the year.


South Asia Studies Faculty

NANDINI ABEDIN, M.Sc, Dhaka University, Bangladesh, (1987); Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature: Bangla language and literature.

JAMEEL AHMAD, PhD Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India (2011); Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literatures: Urdu language and literature.

SAREETA AMRUTE, PhD University of Chicago (2007); Assistant Professor, Anthropology: Diasporas; Social networks; international professional migration.

JORDANNA BAILKIN, PhD Stanford University (1998); Professor, History: Colonial History.

MANISH CHALANA, PhD Colorado (2005); Associate Professor, Urban Design and Planning: International Planning and Development, Historic Preservation Planning, India.

COLLETT COX, PhD Columbia (1983); Professor, Asian Languages and Literature: Comparative religion, Indian and Chinese Buddhism.

PURNIMA DHAVAN, PhD University of Virginia (2003); Associate Professor, History: Early modern South Asian history and literary culture.

JENNIFER DUBROW, PhD Chicago (2011); Assistant Professor, Asian Languages and Literature: Urdu language and literature.

TER ELLINGSON, PhD Wisconsin-Madison (1979); Professor, Ethnomusicology and Anthropology: Comparative religions and South Asian ritual, Buddhism, Shamanism, Tibet, Nepal, Sri Lanka.

RADHIKA GOVINDRAJAN, PhD Yale University (2013); Assistant Professor, Anthropology; environmental anthropology, human-animal Relations, Himalayas, anthropology of religion.

DARRYL HOLMAN, PhD Penn State University (1996); Associate Professor, Anthropology: human reproductive ecology, anthropological demography, Bangladesh.

SUNILA S. KALE, PhD University of Texas (2007); Associate Professor, International Studies and Chair, South Asia Studies: Indian politics and political economy; politics of extraction; development studies; comparative politics.

SANTOSH KUMAR, PhD University of Houston (2009); Lecturer, Global Health: Health Economics, Development Economics, and Program Evaluation.

SONAL KHULLAR, PhD UC-Berkeley (2009); Associate Professor, Art History: colonialism, nationalism, and modernism in South Asia; feminist art practice and theory art and anthropology.

RANDY KYES, PhD University of Georgia (1989); Research Professor, Psychology and Global Health: Conservation Biology, Population Assessment, Human-Wildlife Interface, Disaster Mental Health in a number of habitat countries including Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.

TIMOTHY LENZ, PhD Washington (1999); Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature: Sanskrit language and literature; Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project.

DONNA LEONETTI, PhD Washington (1976); Professor, Anthropology: Bio-cultural anthropology, household ecology and intergenerational effects on fertility, child survival and health in NE India.

CLARK LOMBARDI , PhD Columbia (2001), JD Columbia (1998); Associate Professor, Law and Director of Islamic Legal Studies: Islamic law, constitutional law, comparative legal institutions, development law, law and religion, Afghanistan.

SUDHIR MAHADEVAN, PhD New York University (2008); Associate Professor, Comparative Literature: Indian cinema, world cinemas, media history and theory, film theory and history.

MATTHEW MOSCA, PhD Harvard University (2008); Assistant Professor, History: Chinese and Inner Asian history, specifically the history of the Qing empire; historiography on Chinggis Khan and the Mongol Empire.

BIREN (RATNESH) NAGDA, PhD University of Michigan (1996); Associate Professor, School of Social Work: education and intergroup dialogue, South Asian diaspora.

CHRISTIAN NOVETZKE, PhD Columbia University (2002); Associate Professor, International Studies: Indian culture, religion, and history; religious studies theory and historiographic theory.

ARZOO OSANLOO, PhD Stanford (2002); Assistant Professor, Law, Justice & Society Program and Anthropology: Gender and Islam, human rights and the Islamic state, Pakistan.

PREM PAHLAJRAI, MSEE, Georgia Tech (1990); PhD, Washington (2013); Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature: Hindi Language and Literature, Indian Philosophy.

SAMUEL PARKER, PhD Chicago (1989); Associate Professor, IAS  (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences), UW-Tacoma: aesthetic anthropology, India.

HEIDI PAUWELS, PhD Washington (1994); Associate Professor, Asian Languages and Literature: Hindi literature, Hinduism.

ASEEM PRAKASH, PhD Indiana (1997); Professor, Political Science and Director, Center for Environmental Politics: environmental policy, CSR, globalization, international political economy, India.

VIKRAM PRAKASH, PhD Cornell (1994); Professor, Architecture: history of architecture, urban design, women and development, India.

PRITI RAMAMURTHY, PhD Syracuse (1995); Professor and Department Chair, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, Adjunct Professor, American Ethnic Studies and Former Director, South Asia Center; gender & globalization; labor; agricultural biotechnologies; social movements; development; India.

PRADIPSINH RATHOD, PhD Oregon Health Sciences University (1982); Professor, Chemistry and Adjunct Professor, Global Health: malaria research in South Asia.

CABEIRI DeBERGH ROBINSON, PhD Cornell (2005); Associate Professor, International Studies, Adjunct, Anthropology: political violence, socio-cultural anthropology, historical anthropology, refugees, human rights, political Islam, Pakistan, India, Kashmir.

RICHARD G. SALOMON, PhD Pennsylvania (1975); Professor, Asian Languages and Literature: Sanskrit language and literature, history of early India, Gandharan studies.

MICHAEL C. SHAPIRO, PhD Chicago (1974); Professor, Asian Languages and Literature; Interim Divisional Dean for Humanities; Adjunct Professor of Linguistics: Hindi, Indo-Aryan languages and linguistics.

DANIEL SHEFFIELD, PhD Harvard University (2012); Assistant Professor of History: Islamic world pre-1850, Iranian and South Asian studies.

NATHALIE WILLIAMS, PhD University of Michigan (2009); Assistant Professor, International Studies and Sociology: migration, social demography, armed conflict, climate change, Nepal.

ANAND A. YANG, PhD Virginia (1976); Professor, International Studies and Department Chair, History: popular culture in colonial India, colonial systems of discipline and punishment, South Asian diasporas and migrations, India and China relations and comparisons.


See for more information and an up to date listing.