Department of South Asia

The Department of South Asia (DSA) focuses on the study of culture, history, society, religions, languages and literatures of South and Southeast Asia. Most of the attention is naturally paid to India, the local hegemon. The researchers of the DSA try to understand dynamics of the contemporary Indian society, its development and functioning. They are also involved in the studies of its languages and literatures, especially Hindi, Sanskrit and Tamil. As religion plays an essential role in the daily life in South Asia, research on Hindu and Buddhist religion and philosophy cannot be left out.

Southeast Asia has recently received increased attention as a region where cultural influence as well as geostrategic ambitions of India and China meet. For this reason we are trying to strengthen our research on Indonesia but also other countries of this region.

The youngest field of our research is Central Asia. Being culturally very rich, it is a promising platform for cooperation with other departments of OI.

Besides the research itself, members of the DSA are also involved in teaching at universities, organizing and participating at conferences, popularizing activities and translation of literature.


At present the members of the department deal with the following areas of research:

  • Bureaucracy and Documentary Artefacts; Land, Dispossession and Adivasi Land Rights; Everyday State; Infrastructure and Materiality; Agrarian Transformations; Ethnography; Digital Land Governance System; India; South Asia (Meenakshi Nair Ambujam)
  • Political and cultural history of India with special emphasis on the Dravidian South, Tamil language and Tamil literature, oral literature and balads, hindu mythology, history and ethnical relations in Sri Lanka (Jan Filipský)
  • Buddhism and Buddhistic philosophy (Jiří Holba)
  • Tamil language and Tamil literature, society of Southern India, Dalits (Pavel Hons)
  • Indo-Aryan languages (Sanskrit and Hindi), Hindi lexicography, mediaeval history of India (especially Mughal period), history of precolonial period (Jaroslav Strnad)
  • Indian philosophical traditions (particularly Advaita Vedānta); historiography and sources of modern Hindu movements; Indic theories of self, pedagogy, and hermeneutics; cross-cultural philosophy and dialogue (James Madaio)

Indonesian studies

  • Environmental History and Governmentality in South-east Asia; Food and Food ways in Indo-Pacific; Indigeneity and ethnicity in Indonesia; Critical Development and Political Ecology of Global South (Darmanto)
  • Modern and contemporary history of Indonesia (Tomáš Petrů)
  • Position of religious minorities in the current socio-political context of Indonesia (Pavla Fajfrlíková)

Central Asian studies

  • Modern and contemporary history of Central Asia (Persian/Tajik language, literature, and media) (Thomas Loy)