The University of Chicago will open a major new academic center in Delhi in March 2014 to support and expand opportunities for collaboration across academic disciplines among scholars and students from India and Chicago.
University of Chicago president Robert J. Zimmer announced the opening of the center during a news conference Oct. 28 at the Shangri-La Hotel in New Delhi.
“The Center in Delhi reflects the importance the university places on global engagement and our commitment in India and South Asia particularly,” Zimmer said at a news conference.
“The center will support the work of our faculty, provide a platform for collaboration and opportunities for Indian scholars, prepare our students with a much greater understanding of India, South Asia, and global issues, and contribute to intellectual discourse in and with India.”
The university said the center would promote scholarship and teaching under three broad umbrellas: business, economics, law and policy; science, energy, medicine and public health; and culture, society, religion, and the arts. The new center will not grant degrees.
The school will represent all parts of the university, including the college, the academic divisions, the professional schools and the university’s affiliated laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Marine Biological Laboratory.
“After a century of significant research collaborations between India and Chicago, the center will provide a focus for building on that legacy in Delhi and throughout the region,” said Gary Tubb, professor in South Asian languages and civilizations and faculty director of the center.
A university faculty committee recommended creation of the center and has catalogued dozens of research partnerships between University of Chicago scholars and their Indian and South Asian counterparts.
For example, since 2010 students from Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration have worked with students from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences — established in 1936 by an alumnus of the University of Chicago’s Divinity School — to examine social welfare organization in India, the nature of urban poverty, and local models of community practice.
In return, Tata Institute students have come to the University of Chicago to study urban development, human rights, and policy formation and visit local organizations working with the poor.
Under the University of Chicago’s Center for Global Health, more than 5,000 medical students in India have participated in an “HIV Elective” curriculum, focusing on the science behind HIV transmission.
The elective was established for medical students in the Andhra Pradesh AIDS Consortium, a group of 25 private medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh.
The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society initiative, "Audio Cultures of India: New Approaches to the Performance Archive," will bring together faculty, students, and staff from the university library’s South Asia department, Music, Anthropology, the Computational Institute, and Argonne National Laboratory, to explore new methods for using scientific technologies to process large digital humanities databases.
“This will complement the library's previous participation in the creation of a collection of early gramophone records in the Roja Muthiah Research Library in Chennai and development of the Archive of Indian Music in Bangalore.
Delhi joins the University's Center in Beijing, opened in 2010, and the Center in Paris, opened in 2004, in bringing together researchers and students to collaborate across the academic spectrum.