The Center for Contemporary India Studies at Hiroshima University
The Center is being established in cooperation with the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) as a center to promote area studies in contemporary India. The new Center will pursue studies under the theme of "spatial structure and developmental issues in South Asia".
In addition to the institute at Hiroshima University, the new Center will form a research network with Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo, the National Museum of Ethnology, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and Ryukoku University, for a total of six organizations, to pursue joint studies in contemporary India regional issues. The new Center will pursue studies under the theme of "spatial structure and developmental issues in South Asia".
The purpose of research at the Center for Contemporary India Studies at Hiroshima University (HINDAS) is to better understand the formation of socio-economic spatial structures in contemporary India and other countries of South Asia, where globalization has created striking changes, altering the nature of developmental issues affecting those structures.
The first phase of research at HINDAS focuses on the theme, “spatial structure and social change in contemporary India,” drawing on the university’s 40 years of research in the Indian region to further spatial research using a Geographical Information System (GIS)-based information sharing system that links individual researchers together more organically in a research network. This initiative will enable research to be carried out on the patterns and mechanisms shaping large-scale changes to spatial structures in contemporary India; these include the rapid development of major cities, growth in regional disparities, the consolidation and restructuring of economic spaces, and the development of industrial clusters.
The second phase of research at HINDAS focuses on “spatial structure and developmental issues in South Asia”. Given the extensive geographical diversity of the countries of South Asia and the strong regional identities of the states of the Indian federation, it is important to examine problems affecting spaces in each country. Taking into account the results of the first phase of research (on changes to spatial structures), we will turn our attention to various, related types of development, including resource, urban, rural, economic, and social development. In order to assess the nature of development problems, our research aims to discover the impact of various kinds of development on diverse localities by gaining an understanding of the effects of countrywide, local and socially unsustainable development problems, including urban and environmental problems.
Hiroshima University has, over the last half century, been continuously engaged in research on South Asia, and particularly India. The Research Center for Regional Geography at Hiroshima University (closed in March 2006) was founded on the recommendation of the Science Council of Japan and achieved considerable results as a national center for this research. The activities carried out during the first phase of the HINDAS research program have added to this body of work, which has now become one of Japan’s main repositories of research and data on South Asia. To leverage this strength, HINDAS acts as the hub for a network of international and domestic researchers, organizing collaborative projects and training young researchers in cooperation with the university’s doctoral leadership program (known as the “Leading Graduate Education Program”), which aims to improve the level of research on South Asia.