Fall 2023 Course Offerings
This introductory proficiency-based course in Hindi and Urdu allows students to acquire linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Students will learn to communicate in a variety of everyday situations. Hindi and Urdu share a basic grammar and core vocabulary but differ in terms of scripts and some cultural markers. There will be equal emphasis on both scripts and cultures; parallel written materials will be provided in both scripts. Students are expected to develop proficiency in one script of their choice, and are encouraged to learn both. Classes will be interactive.
This course continues training in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students will learn to read and understand texts in Hindi on familiar topics, to speak confidently and effectively in a wide range of common situations, to write concise texts expressing their thoughts and views, and to acquire general familiarity with the cultural context in which Hindi is used. Students will engage in interactive and collaborative task-based activities in the classroom.
We will explore representations of place and environment across a range of time periods, genres, and perspectives in Hindi and Urdu literature. Our sources will include short stories, poems, essays, and excerpts from novels, travelogues, and diaries. Questions and themes such as human-animal connections; urbanization, industrialization, and ecological degradation; and intersections of culture, timescale, affect and place, will be among some of the prevailing issues addressed. Students will engage in close critical reflection on issues and perspectives.
An introduction to classical Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary, as well as Devanagari script, pronunciation, and phonological change (sandhi). Students will begin to read simple Sanskrit prose and verse.
Strengthens classical Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary and builds knowledge of South Asian religion and culture through reading selections from Sanskrit Epics and Puranas. Requires SAN102 or permission from the instructor.
This course will provide an introduction to the study of South Asian languages in relation to culture (and history, society and politics), addressing topics such as orality and writing systems, multilingualism and polyglossia, literary cultures, cosmopolitan and vernacular language politics, and their relationship to social identity in historical and contemporary perspective.
This course is a survey of Islam in the Indian subcontinent. We begin with the earliest Muslim descriptions of India and the rise of Persian poetry to understand how Muslims negotiated life at the frontiers of the Islamic world. Next we trace patterns of patronage and production at the Mughal court and the development of Urdu as a vehicle of literary composition including a discussion of the Progressive Writer's Movement and the "Muslim Social" genre of Hindi cinema. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary novels from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Students will gain an informed perspective on Islam beyond the headlines.
This course is a continuation of HIN-URD 102, concentrating on Urdu. Students beginning with intermediate proficiency in either Urdu or Hindi will be brought to an advanced level in Urdu in all four skills. The Urdu script will be introduced and an emphasis will be placed on strengthening literacy skills. After completing the course, students will be able to read or comprehend through listening, a variety of authentic Urdu texts and media materials. Various aspects of the target culture will be integrated with instruction. Activities will be conducted in Urdu and classes will be interactive.
Cross-listed with the Program in South Asian Studies
Love is a deeply personal experience. Yet, powerful social, political, and economic forces determine who we love, when we love, and how we love. Looking at practices of romantic love, dating, sex, marriage, queer love, friendship, and familial love across different social and global contexts, this course explores how social and cultural factors shape our most intimate relationships. Drawing on ethnography, history, and journalism, we examine the intersections between love and technology, gender, race, the law, capitalism, colonialism, and religion. For the final project, students will use creative writing or multi-media to tell a love story.
This course addresses inequality in the context of sustainability, focusing on India with comparison to the USA and global trajectories. Students will explore social inequality and inequality in access to basic services; exposure to environmental pollution and climate risks; participation in governance; and, overall outcomes of sustainability, health and wellbeing. They will learn key theoretical frameworks underpinning inequality and equity, measurement approaches, and explore emerging strategies for designing equitable sustainability transitions, drawing upon engineering, spatial planning, public health, and policy perspectives.
An exploration of three major themes in the history of India's and Pakistan's emergence as nation-states: colonial socio-economic and cultural transformations, the growth of modern collective identities and conflicts, and nationalism. Topics covered include: trade, empire, and capitalism; class, gender and religion; Gandhi, national independence, and partition; and post-colonial state and society.
How do representations of men and women, past and present, intersect with popular memories of and attitudes towards gender and sexuality? Thinking through this question with reference to India, this course will entail a close reading of one Bollywood film (with English subtitles) each week alongside an engagement with scholarly studies of the histories of gender and sexuality and of film in South Asia. Students will learn to be critical and historically sensitive viewers of film. They will also reflect critically on the crafting and re-crafting of popular memory, placing remembered pasts in dialog with scholarly approaches.
Hinduism is often regarded as one of the world's most ancient living religions, and its oldest scriptures were composed more than 3000 years ago. It may therefore come as a surprise that people did not start calling themselves Hindus until the 15th century. How should we understand the late appearance of this term as a self-referential category, and what does it tell us about religion in South Asia? In this course, we will trace Hinduism's roots from the earliest period up to the 15th century, examining not only continuity in religious thought and practice but also diversity in the traditions that came to form a single Hindu community.
India's post-independence journey is a lens to study fundamental questions of economic development and political economy. Despite attempts at big-push industrialization, followed by economic liberalization in the 1990's, the country struggled to create jobs and provide public goods at par with rapid population growth. Extreme economic inequality is now only one concern amidst environmental degradation, gender-based violence, and a Hindu-nationalist political agenda. When, and how, will India achieve sustainable development? The seminar will draw on scholarly works and Indian cinema for a well-rounded economic, social and political commentary.