Campus search begins for new chair of Center for South Asia Studies

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A search has begun to select a new chair of the campus Center for South Asia Studies, campus officials announced.

Faculty members have until March 26 to submit nominations for the position. Nominated candidates must be tenured faculty members, according to an email sent out to the faculty by Robert Price, associate vice chancellor for research.

Leaving the position is Raka Ray, also a professor of sociology and South and Southeast Asia studies, who will step down in late July.

“She’s completed her term — she wanted to step down and move on,” Price said.

Price said he expects four to five final candidates for consideration and that a new chair will be announced by the end of the semester. The center works with campus community members and non-profit and private institutions to “deepen understanding of the region and to create new generations of scholars of South Asia,” according to its website.

“The chair would coordinate the overall program for the center — workshops, lecture series, research and facilitate fundraising,” Price said.

Under Ray — who is in her second term as chair and took the position in 2003 — the center has introduced a number of initiatives, among them the Berkeley Urdu and Pakistan Initiatives to increase the study of the Urdu language and the history and culture of Pakistan.

“Raka was fantastic — she really brought a lot of vibrancy and life to the center,” said Puneeta Kala, program director for the center. “It really became fantastic under her leadership.”