Exhibition curated by Susan Seizer, Daniel Meyer, Bernard Cohn, James Nye, and William Alspaugh.
Modern American scholarship on the Indian subcontinent took root a half-century ago as India and Pakistan were becoming modern nation states. This exhibition appears in conjunction with global events marking the 50th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani independence on August 15, 1947. The U.S. government first began to take a practical interest in area studies in the late 1940s. World War II caused government officials to view American universities and their scholars as a national resource and forced America to consider more closely regions of the world with which it had not previously been engaged, particularly Asia. Research and scholarship in the post-war era contributed to changing attitudes, and with increased interest and financial support from both the government and private American foundations, the new field of South Asian studies emerged. During the same fifty years, the University of Chicago Library collections expanded dramatically to meet the needs of scholars in the University's premier South Asian studies program. This exhibition explores the fabric of interactions between Library resources and Chicago scholars as they have shaped the direction of research on the Indian subcontinent. Rare older publications and recent imprints linked to current faculty and student research projects are displayed. Archival and manuscript materials from the formative years of the University's focus on languages and civilizations of the region are exhibited along with the 500,000th volume added to the Library's South Asia holdings. The narrative text of this exhibition is available online. Additional information on the University of Chicago Library's holdings on South Asia is available from the Southern Asia collection Web site.