[INDOLOGY] The place of Indology in the Academy

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Tue Oct 28 15:15:42 UTC 2014

Dear friends, thank you all for your contributions, and I hope there may be
more to come.

I was asking partly because I was aware that there were strong tensions
surrounding this issue at a university where I worked for a while.
Classical Indian studies shared faculty space (institutional and physical)
with East Asian studies, some of whom were quite strongly worried by the
lack of symmetry between the study of modern and ancient topics (Sanskrit
vs. contemporary Chinese, for example), and especially by the big
difference in student numbers that made it look as if the East Asia people
were much more burdened with large u/g classes.  While I do understand and
accept the "safety in numbers" argument about Asian Studies as a valid
departmental aegis, I also see that there can still be intra-departmental
tensions, even quite sharp ones.

Another source of my question is the continuing theme that we're all aware
of, i.e., periodic news of yet another department shutting down.  I can't
say more about this at the moment, and it doesn't relate to any institution
that I've ever been connected with.

About East Asian studies getting the lion's share of funding: yes, Arlo,
this is often true.  And quite often the funding is directly through grants
from the Chinese Government.  Which leads to certain vulnerabilities.  I
heard earlier this year about a university that granted an honorary
doctorate to the Dalai Lama, and promptly had all their grants for E. Asian
studies cut because the Chinese Government cancelled all their funding as a
retaliation.  This highlights the importance of a university gaining
control of the principal of a donation, not just the interest of a
principal held elsewhere.


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