Under the Skies of South Asia (USSA)
A multidisciplinary seven-volume research project
Dr Irina Glushkova, Ph.D., D.Litt.,
Head of the Under the Skies of South Asia
Dr Svetlana Sidorova, Ph.D,
Deputy Head of the Under the Skies of South Asia
The mammoth research project, Under the Skies of South Asia, was initiated in 2011. The inspiration came from new methods of research in humanities and recognition of many-layered connections and relationships between India and adjoining countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives. Another driving force behind the project’s inception emerged out of the need to rediscover the entire concept of ‘South Asia’ which was coined almost together with the birth of the new post-colonial nations, and which has the potential of pulling together fragments and creating entities.
The specific feature of the Under the Skies of South Asia project is its focused character. It is based on a multidisciplinary and multimedia study of a strictly defined theme – such as ‘portrait and sculpture’, ‘movement and space’, ‘territory and belonging’, ‘praise and abuse’, ‘shame and pride’ etc. The quality of the studies is achieved through yearly cycles of seminars, conferences, round tables and thoroughly edited publications based upon non-stop academic discourse. The principle encompassing every segment of the project is Not in general, but in particular. It presupposes a reversal of the olden and outdated Orientalistic principle of theorising on an abstract, uniformed “India” or the imaginary “East” and then picking up these or those data to corroborate an ethereal theory. Each theme of the project is to be examined in a flesh-and-blood reality of a place, social or cultural group, polity, etc., i.e. it deals with a spatially, culturally and temporarily confined entity. Its constituents can be seen, touched and smelt, even if the resulting outcome is achieved through archaeological or historic anthropology.