From the times of Marco Polo to the British Empire to the postcolonial nation, South Asia has been imagined, pictured, explored, and studied. This exhibition introduces the Regenstein Library's extraordinary resources related to South Asia through visual metaphors of imagination, representation, and engagement. How did explorers, missionaries, colonial officials, and scholars view South Asia? What did South Asian self-representations look like? From palm leaf manuscripts to historical maps, and from rare books to digital projects, Envisioning South Asia offers a kaleidoscopic tour through scholarly and popular imaginations in text and image.
Since the opening of the University of Chicago in 1892, scholars and students have explored the languages and civilizations of the Indian subcontinent. As the University celebrates its 125th anniversary, the exhibition also marks the 60th anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and the 50th anniversary of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations. Many of the artifacts on display, including treasures from Special Collections, are presented to the public for the first time, providing visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich and diverse histories and cultures of South Asia.