With a population of more than 1.1 billion, India is second only to China. Moreover, India's gross domestic product is growing at a rate of over 7% annually. India has one of the world's largest middle classes, yet it continues to be affected by extreme income inequality, which presents a number of challenges for a country with such a deep colonial history. Many of these challenges are being examined through the diverse research of Rutgers faculty and students. This inequality issue is placed in historical context by faculty in the Department of History, whose research spans from early and modern South Asian history and focuses on slavery, the family and law. Also in the Department of History, research is focused on the political, cultural, and linguistic processes by which South Asian identities are formed. Research on contemporary India includes the study of macroeconomic change. This diversity of research occurs alongside more applied work in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS).
Many researchers focus on historically situated, yet contemporary transformations in agriculture, politics, economics, and family, including gender dynamics. The Department of Geography examines Indian water development and focuses primarily on the political, economic, and ecological effects of the spread of groundwater irrigation. The departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology are researching gender, race, class, labor practices, and nation-state formation, as well as gender, globalization, and postcolonial and diaspora studies. The Department of Anthropology has most recently studied Nationalism, Nonviolence, and Pogrom in Gujarat, India, while the Program in Comparative Literature studies hybrid modernity in material culture, literature, and the arts. This complements work on the semantic variation among South Asian Languages by the Department of Linguistics and South Asian Religions.
Rutgers was one of five out of more than 100 applicant institutions to receive a grant as part of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. This new grant, under the leadership of David Finegold, senior vice president for lifelong learning and strategic growth initiatives, offers an exciting opportunity to unify many of the university’s efforts with Indian institutions and raise their visibility.