CASI symposium marks 20 years at Penn


Center for the Advanced Study of India

College senior Shumita Basu spent much of her summer conducting interviews with families across the Kumaon region of India as part of her summer internship with Chirag.

Penn’s Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) turns 20 this year and will celebrate its second decade with an anniversary symposium on Thursday, Sept. 27, titled “India: Two Decades of Transformation.”

The first and only academic research center in the United States dedicated to the study of contemporary India, the Center was founded in 1992 by Penn political science professor Francine Frankel, a year after the passage of India’s historic economic reforms.

The symposium will be held in Penn Law School’s Michael A. Fitts Auditorium from 2 to 6:45 p.m. A contingent of senior officials and advisors to the government of India and Indian business leaders are expected to attend. The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required at the CASI website.

“Our anniversary symposium will bring the largest number of government of India officials to Penn for one event for the first time,” says Devesh Kapur, director of CASI and the Madan Lal Associate Professor for the Study of Contemporary India.


Mark Stehle

Devesh Kapur, director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India.

Penn President Amy Gutmann says CASI is a “star in the firmament of our international outreach.”

CASI research helps fill a need for objective knowledge about India’s politics and society, rapidly changing economy, and transformation as both an ancient civilization and major contemporary power. The Center’s key goals are to nurture a new generation of scholars across disciplines, collaborating with research organizations around the world, including its counterpart institution in New Delhi, the 15-year-old University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advanced Study of India. The Center also provides a forum for dialogue among the academic, business, and foreign policy communities.

“It is among the major reasons Penn is so perfectly positioned for collaborative global scholarship,” Gutmann says. “CASI is a thought-leader in providing in-depth, policy-relevant scholarship related to this important nation. The Center’s interdisciplinary approach reflects the very best of Penn.”

Rebecca Bushnell, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, calls CASI “a vitally important catalyst for scholarship on Indian domestic and foreign policy, political economy, and media and communications issues.” Under Kapur’s leadership, she says the Center “has become an increasingly important voice in the dialogue among the academic, business, and policy communities.”

CASI offers research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students during the academic year, and internships and research trips to India through its Summer Study and Internship Travel Program for undergraduates and graduate students. The Center’s Visiting Scholars Program brings scholars, policymakers, and non-governmental organization leaders from India to Penn. 

Originally published on September 13, 2012