The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School was established in 2005 by  Arjun Appadurai, who was Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at The New School, and Benjamin Lee, then Dean at the  The New School for Social Research. Having first met at the University of Chicago as graduate students, for years they had been discussing the idea of a research Institute to study the reemergence of India and China and how their new roles as global powers impact each other, the United States and the rest of the world. Armed with their intellectual vision and rationale, their idea was all the more remarkable because it reached beyond the area studies model that was the norm in academia but had become less effective with the rise of globalization.

In 2004,The New School’s then-President Bob Kerrey secured a historic $10 million seed money in 2004 from The Starr Foundation to start ICI and to recruit two professors dedicated to India China-related academia. Ashok Gurung was appointed Founding Director on January 1st, 2005 to establish and design academic programming and to manage day-to-day operations. Since that time, ICI has been awarded  multi-year grants for research and teaching and continues to draw critical interest and generous support.

The New School has also contributed significant resources since ICI’s inception to assist with the administrative resources to augment the endowment from The Starr Foundation. With these critical funds, continuing assistance from other foundations and our global community of academics and supporters, ICI continues to grow and embody The New School spirit of thinking outside the box.

Founding Directors

Arjun Appadurai: Dr. Appadurai is a prominent contemporary social-cultural anthropologist, having formerly served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at The New School. . He has held various professorial chairs and visiting appointments at some of top institutions in the United States and Europe. In addition, he has served on several scholarly and advisory bodies in the United States, Latin America, Europe and India. Dr. Appadurai is world renowned expert on the cultural dynamics of globalization, having authored numerous books and scholarly articles. The nature and significance of his contributions throughout his academic career have earned him the reputation as a leading figure in his field. After leaving The New School in 2007, he was appointed Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University.
Benjamin Lee: Dr. Lee is a professor of Anthropology and Philosophy and the former Provost of The New School, where he is currently teaching courses at the intersections of Design, finance and social science at Parsons: the New School for Design. Previous to his current position, Dr. Lee was a professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at Rice University where he also directed the Transnational China Project at the James A. Baker Institute of Policy Studies. From 1999-2001, he was a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong in the Department of Comparative Literature. Lee was the founding director for the Center for Transcultural Studies in Chicago and is currently a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He holds a PhD in Anthropology and a MA in Human Development from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Lee has written extensively on the anthropology and philosophy of language, literary theory, and global cultural studies.