Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: South & Southeast Asian Studies

Last updated July 2023 by Zoë McLaughlin

Curricular, Research, and Programmatic Needs

  • The South and Southeast Asian Studies Collection supports the instruction, research, and information needs of MSU faculty, graduate students with an interest in area studies, and advanced undergraduates, as well as members of the public with an interest in South or Southeast Asia.
  • Faculty with research interests in South or Southeast Asian studies are found throughout departments on campus, including History, Religious Studies, and James Madison College, and maintain affiliations with the Asian Studies Center.  Selection of materials for the collection, therefore, depends strongly on current goals and trends established by the  Asian Studies Center.  The interdisciplinary Indian and South Asian Studies minor is also supported through this collection as well as graduate students with specializations in Asian studies in departments such as History, Anthropology, and Sociology.
  • The Muslim Studies Program is also of importance to the collection.  This program focuses especially on the lived realities of Muslims around the world, encompassing many Muslims in South and Southeast Asia.
  • Attention is also paid to current languages offered on campus, with a particular focus on Hindi/Urdu, Khmer, Thai, and Vietnamese.
  • Current major sources of funding received by various groups on campus affect the collection's focus to a certain extent, including regular pan-Asia Title VI funding awarded to the Asian Studies Center, a Henry Luce Foundation grant administered through James Madison College, and funding awarded to the Muslim Studies Program by the John Templeton Foundation.
  • Collaborative collection development projects on the local and national level are also considerations.

History of the Collection

  • A fund for the South and Southeast Asian Studies collection was established in 2018 out of the Asian Studies Collection fund.  This helped to respond to growing interest in South and Southeast Asia on campus, particularly tied to the goals and objectives of the Asian Studies Center.
  • English-language monographs on Asia have been collected by the MSU Libraries since the 1950s.  Vietnam, the Philippines, and India have been particular focuses of this collecting.  Singapore, India, and the Philippines have also been important sources of English-language materials on international development.
  • In the 1960s, the Libraries began participating in a Library of Congress PL 480 program for materials from India and South Asia; this participation lasted until 1987.
  • In the 1990s, the Asian Studies Collection broadened to include more than the traditional humanities.  This broadening of focus continues, responding to campus research interests and strengths.
  • In 2009, Vietnamese-language materials began to be collected in earnest.  This has expanded to include collecting in other languages of South and Southeast Asia.