The Department of History at the University of Chicago has had a long and distinguished tradition of interest in South Asian history. The field encourages research in a wide variety of topics, ranging from political and cultural history of Mughal India to political and cultural questions of colonial and postcolonial South Asia. Current faculty research cover cultural practices and artifacts of Mughal India, South Asian Islam, identity practices through and around South Asian rituals and the media, Hindu thought, popular culture, and the media, cinema studies, colonial rule and its cultural and political consequences, gender and subaltern history, nationalist thought, questions and politics of modernity, historiogaphy, and postcolonial theory. Students may also engage with such departments as South Asian Languages and Civilizations, Anthropology, Political Science, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), Cinema and Media Studies, and the Divinity School.

Increasingly, scholars in South Asian history are working with multiple archives and historical sources in more than one South Asian language. Students can continue their language training at Chicago in Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Persian, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Urdu.