This program offers emphases in the following languages and cultural traditions: Hindi, Urdu, Indonesian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Tamil, and Khmer. Literature is understood in the widest sense to include not only creative writing and cultural expression in the various genres but also sources concerning religion, philosophy, history, and the fine and performing arts. The analysis of cultural expression is also understood to include attention to social, anthropological, economic, and political contexts.
The program provides opportunities to explore the rich cultural, social, and religious histories of South and Southeast Asia as well as the living contemporary cultures of these areas. The curriculum covers cultural history, the classical literary canon, religious literature, folk and popular works, oral traditions, and performance media (including recitation, musical and dramatic performance, dance, and film), and modern literatures of the colonial and post-colonial periods.
Advanced proficiency in the language of emphasis is a central goal, as is the ability to undertake the sophisticated textual study of a broad range of literary works in that language.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary linkages by pursuing courses offered by the South and Southeast Asia faculty in other departments on the UCB campus. Students are also encouraged to pursue courses and independent reading that will familiarize them with pertinent methods in the various disciplines (such as contemporary literary theory, ethnographic theory, historiography, and cultural studies theory). Appropriate comparative work on Asian and non-Asian cultures is encouraged as well.
The PhD in South and Southeast Asian Studies prepares students for academic careers in teaching and research not only in South and Southeast Asian Studies, but also in comparative literature, religious studies, history, Asian studies, and cultural studies.
Source: Berkeley Academic Guide