For centuries, the Indo-Pacific (IP) region has been characterized by deep and extensive political, economic and social change. Because of the IP's many sea lanes, vast population, and abundant natural resources, all major colonial powers have at one point or another had a presence and interest in the region. This also is fertile ground for scholarship in the current phase of globalization; few areas have been so directly affected by recent advances in technology, and the economic boom and increased world trade that were sparked by the process. But the region is interesting for more reasons than its modern economy. It has an extraordinary mix of cultures that has been developing for thousands of years. It has produced some of the world's greatest literature, drama, art, architecture, and music. Its cultures today are a modern blending of its diverse traditions with influences from the rest of the world.

The primary goal of Indo-Pacific Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is to expand and promote knowledge of the region and of its position in the world through research and teaching. Specialists in the study of the Indo-Pacific region approach their scholarly and pedagogical activity by looking at the region in various ways in its own context, from a comparative perspective, in the framework of scholarly paradigms, and as an area that operates in a global milieu.

The tenure-stream faculty in Indo-Pacific Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is a particularly distinguished and diversified group. This is exemplified in the faculty's range in rank, theoretical and regional interests and departments and schools represented. The faculty is also the largest in number of the comparable units within the Asian Studies Center. Collectively, the faculty has published numerous books, hundreds of articles, and lectured at some of the most prestigious universities and institutions of the world. It also counts among its members recipients of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award as well as numerous other awards for meritorious teaching.

These faculty members teach a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses across the curriculum, concentrated in the social sciences and humanities. Some of these courses focus on the IP within its own context as a region, others look at it in comparative or paradigmatic terms, and still others in a wider regional or worldwide context. In fact, most of the IP Studies faculty teach not only about the IP, but also about topics or methodologies that are important to their particular disciplines.