South Asian Studies Unit (SASU)

We aim to advance knowledge on the diverse history, doctrines and practices of Muslims in the region that constitutes present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian regions.

With a commitment to high-quality academic research and publications, the unit is uniquely placed to contribute to current academic debates as they relate to Islam and Muslims in South Asia. It seeks to further scholarly understanding of Satpanth history, literature, heritage and identity in order to promote critical thinking in the field of South Asian Ismaili studies.

In addition to drawing on the expertise of in-house researchers and faculty, we aim to collaborate with institutions and researchers across the world to produce publications and organise seminars, lectures and conferences which elucidate a shared vision of rigorous and critical academic enquiry.

The unit is working on a number of research projects related to Muslims in South Asia, including:  

  • Developing an annotated bibliography of vernacular sources relevant to South Asian studies;  
  • Reconstructing the lives of figures of the Satpanth tradition; 
  • Documenting the migration and process of acculturation of various Ismaili groups (e.g. Persians accompanying Imam Hasan Ali Shah to India; the South Asian Ismaili migration to East Africa, Europe and North America; migration due to the 1947 India/Pakistan partition and subsequent separation of Bangladesh);
  • Researching the reception of the Qur’an among the Satpanth communities of South Asia.