South Asian Studies

Contact Your Librarians (Adnan & Vanessa)

Adnan Malik

Location: 120 Doe Library
Office Hours:
W-F 10am-5pm
(510) 643-0849 x 1

Vanessa Tait

Location: 120 Doe Library
Office Hours: M 10am-5pm, Tu, W, F 1-5pm
Contact:  (510) 643-0849 x 2

About South Asian Studies

paisley graphicSouth Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary field, with scholars working in many academic departments across the UC Berkeley campus. Over 40 courses in South Asian Studies are offered in 15 departments during the academic year.

The South/Southeast Asia Library is the campus reference center for South Asia research, where you will find a wide selection of bibliographies, databases, and guides to special collections. Visit us in 120 Doe Library during these hours for reference help.

The Department of South and Southeast Asia Studies offers instruction in the languages and cultures of the region. The Center for South Asia Studies coordinates a rich variety of lectures, colloquia, conferences and research opportunities.

Giving to the Library

The Library welcomes gifts in all forms. Many private donors have made contributions toward the acquisition of research materials. This support is very important in sustaining the excellence of our South Asia collections and services.

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Searching Library Catalogs

Use OskiCat to locate materials related to your topic, including books, government publications, and audio and video recordings, in the libraries of UC Berkeley. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own. 

Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system. Next Generation Melvyl also allows you to expand your search to libraries worldwide. Clicking on the REQUEST button in the detailed view of a catalog record prompt you to fill out a form to request the item through our Interlibrary Loan office.

Getting Material from NRLF

A large part of the library's collection is stored off campus in an environmentally secure building called the Northern Regional Library Facility [NRLF].

Submit online requests via the REQUEST button in OskiCat to borrow material shelved at NRLF. To receive electronic or paper copies of book chapters or journal articles, submit an online request via the "Request an article from NRLF (photocopy or web delivery)" link that appears in eligible titles in OskiCat. Staff at public service desks of any campus library can assist you with further questions.

Find eBooks

The Library offers over 100 e-book and e-text collections in specific subject areas. E-books in collections marked * are also available through OskiCat and Melvyl. You can limit your search in OskiCat to "Available online," and in Melvyl to "Online resources."

Purchase Recommendation

You can suggest items that the Library should consider purchasing. Use the Purchase Recommendation form to submit your suggestion.

Doe Library, North Reading Room


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Berkeley's research and collecting interest in South Asia is a long-standing one, dating back at least to 1906, when Sanskrit was first taught here. At that time, the Library's acquisitions included Indic religion, history, philosophy and literature, in Sanskrit and Western languages. Later collecting added most of the social sciences and humanities, in South Asian and Western languages. The South/Southeast Asia Library has an extensive collection of specialized reference material for South Asia and a collection of unbound current periodicals and newspapers. Most circulating items for language and literature, history, political science, economics, sociology, government documents, philosophy and religion, South Asian art and art history, women's studies, and the South Asian diaspora are shelved in the Main Stack or NRLF. Some branches and affiliated libraries have collections of South Asian material including Anthropology, Education/Psychology, Bioscience, Environmental Design, and Music.


The number of monographs in all languages, including English, is approximately 600,000. Current collecting in South Asian languages focuses on literature, history, social sciences and religion, with special strengths in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali, and Nepali. A breakdown of monograph holdings in South Asian languages shows this distribution: Assamese 100; Bengali 19,000; Gujarati 2,400; Hindi 30,000; Kannada 2,500; Kashmiri 600; Malayalam 3,500; Marathi 7,500; Nepali 5,700; Oriya 2,000; Punjabi 7,500; Pushto 700; Sanskrit 13,500; Sindhi 950; Sinhalese 3,650; Tamil 14,800; Urdu 22,000 The Library subscribes to around 500 serial and newspaper titles in South Asian languages and about 3,300 titles in English and Western languages.

Special Library Collections
The library has many specialized South Asia collections, a few of which are mentioned here.

South Asians in North America Collection. This collection includes primary source materials, such as photographs, pamphlets, party literature, etc. in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and English on this Indian nationalist party which was based in northern California during the first two decades of this century.

Court Fee and Revenue Stamps of the Princely States of India
. The court fee and revenue stamps were designed by the British as a means to collect taxes from residents of some of the Princely States as starting as early as 1797. The designs include the name of the state as well as the type and amount of tax imposed. This rich collection, including stamps from over 15 princely states, is a gift from Kenneth Robbins.

Henry Morse Stephens Collection. This is an early bequest in 1919 of an important collection relating to British India and Indian history.

Kipling Collection.
This collection on Rudyard Kipling was begun in 1919 and expanded by a major purchase in 1963 of rare and scarce materials, first editions, manuscripts, typescripts, and ephemera.

Maps of South Asia.
The map collection of the Library, housed in Giannini Hall, holds 4,500 maps and nautical charts of South Asia, in addition to world maps and general maps of Asia and the Indian Ocean region. There are also 65 atlases and gazetteers of the area.

Leo Rose Himalaya Collection
. This collection was begun with extensive purchases made in Nepal by Professor Leo Rose on politics, history, and law in the 1950's and continued with purchases under the Himalayan Border Countries Projects from 1960 to 1969, and is currently enhanced by acquisitions under the Library of Congress Acquisitions Program. This collection includes microfilm of portions of the holdings of the India Office Library, London and the Nation Archives in New Delhi on the Himalayan region, with a concentration on Nepal. It is especially strong on the 19th and early 20th century period and is a unique resource in the U.S.

Nimbkar Collection. This was a gift in 1955 from Dr. Krishnabai Nimbkar's collection on India's Congress Party, including correspondence, papers, pamphlets and policy

Find Dissertations

UC Berkeley's Guide to South Asia Dissertations contains doctoral dissertations, masters theses and professional reports on topics related to South Asia by UC Berkeley graduates. It includes work completed at Berkeley from 1915 to 1998 in the fields of arts, literature, humanities, social and physical sciences. It includes only those dissertations which have substantial portions relating to South Asia or the South Asian diaspora.

Find Dissertations by searching Digital Dissertations, which indexes over 1.5 million dissertations completed in North American (including UC) and European universities from 1861 to the present. Listings after 1980 include abstracts, and some feature 24-page excerpts. Also see Find Dissertations and Theses for other specialized sources, and dissertations completed at a UC campus can also be found in Library catalogs, which have limit to dissertations/theses search options:

Dissertations/Theses in Oskicat

Full-text Access: Online full-text of UC dissertations (from 1996) can be found by searching Digital Dissertations and also appear in Library catalog search results. UC Berkeley dissertations in print prior to 1996 may be found by searching the Library catalogs. Dissertations done at other UC campuses prior to 1996 or ouside the UC system must be obtained through Interlibrary Loan or using the "Request" option in Next-Gen Melvyl.


Echoes of Freedom exhibitEchoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California, 1899-1965
The story of early Indian immigrants to California told through photographs, documents and publications, drawn from the Library's rich archive of materials on South Asians in North America.

Hundred Harvests exhibitA Hundred Harvests: Asian Studies at UCB
For over a hundred years Asian studies have been a vital and evolving part of teaching and research on the Berkeley campus. South Asian studies has a long and distinguished history at Berkeley, with Sanskrit was taught beginning in 1897. Other South Asia programs were  expanded in succeeding decades, and today Berkeley is a leader in the discipline.

Double Ikat exhibitThe Power of Patterns: Double Ikat for Textile Exchange in India and Indonesia
A textile exhibit on India and Indonesia based on one of the winners of the 2008 Library Prize for Undergraduate Research.


Silicon Raj exhibitSilicon Raj: Making a Difference to America's Future
An exhibit of photographs by Rick Rocumora, documenting the contributions of South Asians in the United States.


Related Subject Guides

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