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South Asia Center

Engagement with K-12 Classrooms

Mithila art fishes

Classroom Engagement and Professional Development

Workshop at the zoo with elementary students

Classroom Visits

Faculty and graduate students present on topics of interest that satisfy New York Learning Standards for Social Studies (grades 2-5).

Topics can include geography, food and dress, family life, language, technology and development, folk arts and oral narrative traditions, history, religious practice, the environment, historical and contemporary political systems, the growth of India as an economic power and migration within and from South Asia.

International Studies Summer Institute table display

International Studies Summer Institute

Held each summer at Syracuse University or Cornell University, the International Studies Summer Institute (ISSI) is a professional development workshop for practicing and pre-service K–12 teachers. The workshop will give you practical strategies and resources for integrating international studies and world religions into your classroom. Each year, ISSI has a new international theme, such as global arts education.

ISSI is designed for elementary, middle and high school teachers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. New York State teachers can obtain continuing education credits upon completion of a lesson plan that incorporates content from the workshop.

Workshops for teachers

Workshops and Lesson Planning

In collaboration with Cornell University, we hold teacher workshops to provide useful information and resources concerning South Asia that teachers can use to create or revise lesson plans.

We are particularly interested in working in rural school districts whose students may have limited experiences with South Asian cultures.

Classroom Materials and Lesson Plans

The following resources might be helpful for preparing South Asia-related curriculum.


Learn about the history and culture of Afghanistan on "Homeland Afghanistan," a website presented by the Asia Society. The "Primary Resources" website may be used as a companion piece.

Naray Afghanistan


The Manas: The Religions of India website provides background on the sacred text and practices of a number of Indian religions, including Hinduism.

The Legend of Ponnivala is a medieval Hindu epic that has been reinterpreted for a modern audience.

Several versions of the Ramayana story, an important Hindu epic, are provided with the corresponding teaching materials.

Ravanas uncle

South Asian Folk and Visual Arts

Mithila man and woman

Art, Research and Teaching Collections

The following resources might be helpful for preparing South Asia-related curriculum.

Piece from the Smith Art Collection

At his retirement, H. Daniel Smith, professor emeritus of religion at Syracuse University, donated his collection of Indian art comprised of numerous images and accruements for ritual (puja objects), scrolls of Indian epics and stories and sixty paintings from the Mithila region of northern India.

Cornell Universeity Lending Library

The Lending Library contains books, movies, music and culture kits full of ephemera from South Asian countries organized around a variety of topics including games, education, Buddhism and water access. Prepared by experts at Cornell University, these resources are geared for use by K-12 and community college educators.

Damayanti and the Swan

Comparable only to collections housed in two museums—one in British Columbia and the other in Germany, the Smith Poster Archive, contains more than 3,500 design specimens of popular chromolithographs depicting Hindu gods, goddesses, saints and sacred sites. Such posters were widely disseminated in India in the 20th century.

Lakshmi and Narayan on an elephant

Ruth Reeves was a leading American textile designer whose fabrics covered the walls of New York Radio City Music Hall and who, from 1956 to her death in 1966, lived in India studying and collecting its craft traditions. Shorty after her death, Syracuse University acquired Reeves' collection of Indian folk arts comprised of some 500 items.

Agehananda Bharati

Swāmī Agehānanda Bhāratī was the monastic name of Leopold Fischer, professor of anthropology at Syracuse University for over 30 years. He was an academic Sanskritist, a writer on religious subjects and a Hindu monk in the Dasanami Sannyasi order. After his death in 1991, his vast collection of writings was donated to the Syracuse University Special Collections in Bird Library.

Asia Society

A global non-profit organization, Asia Society is the leading force in forging closer ties between Asia and the West through arts, education, policy and business outreach.

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South Asia Center
346 Eggers Hall