Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Organization profile

The Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (CSAMES, pronounced see-sayms), promotes teaching and scholarship on South Asia and the Middle East and fosters a greater public understanding of these globally influential regions. For over thirty years, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recognized the importance of South Asian and Middle Eastern studies by supporting student and faculty projects related to the region. Through study abroad programs, language instruction, and faculty teaching and research, the campus offers students a variety of learning opportunities to engage with South Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, histories, and societies.

CSAMES works with more than a dozen departments and affiliated faculty of over 75 members, who bring to the Center their expertise and diverse areas of interest. With the help of these members of the faculty, CSAMES organizes a variety of events, including a weekly noontime lecture series, conferences, symposia, and film series. CSAMES supports affiliated faculty who teach the languages spoken in our regions and has funded positions in Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Sanskrit, Urdu and Bengali. At CSAMES, we bring together a broad and extensive program that address topics such as social movements, religious beliefs and transformations, cultural identities, literary traditions and critic, urbanization, political economy, nationalism-state formation, and gender relations.