The University of Chicago will open a major new academic center in Delhi next spring, supporting and expanding opportunities for collaboration among scholars and students from India and Chicago, across academic disciplines.
The Center in Delhi will be a home for research and education for University of Chicago faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates working in India and throughout South Asia, as well as Indian researchers and students representing a wide array of institutions, and scholars from around the world.
President Robert J. Zimmer said the Center in Delhi will be an intellectual destination and will enable the University of Chicago to better support research and scholarship that will benefit faculty, students, and society.
“The Center in Delhi reflects the importance the University places on global engagement and our commitment in India and South Asia particularly,” Zimmer said Monday at a news conference in New Delhi. “The Center will support the work of our faculty, provide a platform for collaboration and opportunities for Indian scholars, prepare our students with a much greater understanding of India, South Asia, and global issues, and contribute to intellectual discourse in and with India. Our goal is to create an intellectual destination in Delhi, where scholars and students from the United States, India, and around the world can benefit from the free exchange of ideas.”
The Center will promote scholarship and teaching under three broad umbrellas: business, economics, law and policy; science, energy, medicine and public health; and culture, society, religion, and the arts. It will represent all parts of the University, including the College, the academic divisions, the professional schools, and the University’s affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory.
Century of research collaboration with India
Located in the vibrant cultural and commercial district of Connaught Place, the 17,000-square-foot Center will provide space for seminars and conferences, as well as faculty offices and study areas. It will host Indian and South Asian students and scholars, serve as a base for UChicago students and faculty working at other institutions in India and throughout the region, and engage alumni and parents in India and South Asia.
The new Center in Delhi will capitalize on a strong body of work already underway. A University faculty committee recommended the creation of the Center and has catalogued dozens of research partnerships between UChicago scholars and their Indian and South Asian counterparts.
Since 2010, for instance, students from the University’s School of Social Service Administration have worked with students from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences—established in 1936 by an alumnus of the University of Chicago’s Divinity School—to examine social welfare organization in India, the nature of urban poverty, and local models of community practice. In return, Tata Institute students have come to the University of Chicago to study urban development, human rights, and policy formation, as well as visit local organizations working with the poor.
Under the University of Chicago’s Center for Global Health, more than 5,000 medical students in India have participated in an “HIV Elective” curriculum, focusing on the science behind HIV transmission and led by John Schneider, assistant professor in Medicine and director of Global Health Programs. The elective was established for medical students within the Andhra Pradesh AIDS Consortium, a group of 25 private medical colleges in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society initiative, “Audio Cultures of India: New Approaches to the Performance Archive,” will bring together faculty, students, and staff from the University Library's South Asia Department, Music, Anthropology, the Computational Institute, and Argonne National Laboratory, to explore new methods for using scientific technologies to process large digital humanities databases. This will complement the Library's previous participation in the creation of a collection of early gramophone records in the Roja Muthiah Research Library in Chennai and in the development of the Archive of Indian Music in Bangalore.