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Mission Statement

Founded in 1992, the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania is the first research institution in the United States dedicated to the study of contemporary India. A national resource, it fills an urgent need for objective knowledge of India's politics and society, rapidly changing economy, and transformation as both an ancient civilization and major contemporary power.

The Center's key goals are to nurture a new generation of scholars across disciplines and to provide a forum for dialogue among the academic, business, and foreign policy communities.

Through its collaborative research initiatives, seminars, conferences, publications, and outreach, the Center provides in-depth, policy-relevant analysis of the most pressing issues facing India and the Indo-US relationship today.

CASI: Enriching Research and Debate on Contemporary India

The Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) was born a year after India launched its historic economic reforms. Founded in 1992 by Prof. Francine Frankel as the first academic research center in the United States for the study of contemporary India, CASI is today recognized as a national resource, addressing the urgent need for objective knowledge of India’s rapidly changing society, politics and economy, and the forces and processes behind them.

Now under the direction of Prof. Tariq Thachil, following Prof. Devesh Kapur (Director, 2006-18), the Center further expands the University of Pennsylvania’s leadership on South Asian studies through its research focus on India’s economic transition, governance and politics, security and foreign policy, human capital, and media.

The Center’s key goals are to nurture a new generation of interdisciplinary scholars, and to provide a forum for public dialogue among the academic, business, and foreign policy communities. At CASI, our newly endowed Nand & Jeet Khemka Distinguished Lecture Series brings leading India experts to the Penn campus. We anticipate this public program will extend the dialogue on India across the University, and in the greater Philadelphia community.

As part of our commitment to young scholars and future leaders, CASI offers year-round opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students through paid research for the Center during the academic year and the Summer Study and Internship Travel Program for undergraduates to India. Our Visiting Scholars Program allows Penn students to interact directly with academics, policymakers, and NGO leaders from India who are in residence at CASI during a semester.

To reach a larger audience, the Center has an online publication – India in Transition– a forum for the exchange of the most innovative ideas and analyses about India today.

Our vision for the Center is to evolve and grow organically as an international hub for policy-relevant research on India, and to strengthen ties within and beyond the Penn network. Collaboration with our New Delhi counterpart research organization, University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India (UPIASI), widens CASI’s reach within India.

The University of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of area studies since 1942 when Prof. W. Norman Brown pioneered the study of modern India, a full fifteen years before area studies appeared on any other US campus. That legacy continues at the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of South Asian Studies and its South Asia Center, the stellar holdings of the South Asian Studies Collection at the Van Pelt Library, and most vibrantly, we believe, through CASI.