[INDOLOGY] Size of Indology (& South Asian Studies) as a field

Andrew Ollett andrew.ollett at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 16:35:31 UTC 2021

Dear list members,

Dominik's recent question made me think that I should ask this list about
something I've been wondering about for a long time. How large is the field
of Indology? How large is South Asian studies? How does it compare to other
"area studies" formations?

We have no large-scale professional association that keeps track of faculty
and student positions, PhDs produced, etc., and I'm not aware of any
professional association that even keeps a record of this information. I
have no knowledge of anyone doing any field-wide surveys (such as the MLA
does on a regular basis). One might make an approximation by looking at the
membership counts of EASAS, BASAS, IASS, or even this email list, but that
will involve a lot of over- and under-counting. One could also count papers
given at recent conferences (ECSAS, Madison, WSC) but that is not the same
as having a list of programs and positions. The publications of some
relevant journals and book series might also be a good proxy, but I'm not
very confident that I would manage to get a good sample.

The question is complicated by the fact that many people who work on South
Asia are or identify as anthropologists, social scientists, historians,
political scientists, scholars of religion, etc., and it's hard to draw
boundaries in a sensible way.

But if anyone has any suggestions for answering this question, or any
useful *quantitative* data (we all have anecdotes and lōkavārttā), I would
very much appreciate it. (But by responding you would risk being thanked by
me at some point in the future!)

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