Spring 2023 Course Offerings
This course provides the second semester of training in Hindi and Urdu, allowing students to acquire linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Equal emphasis is placed on both Hindi and Urdu, including writing systems, vocabulary, and culture. Course will focus on using language for communication. Students will be able to read and write both Hindi and Urdu scripts, communicate in social situations, and narrate in all three time frames: past, present and future. Classes are interactive.
This is a continuing proficiency-based course which refines and expands previously acquired linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Focus is on expanding vocabulary, mastering more complex grammatical structures, and acquiring idiomatic expressions. Use of authentic Hindi materials from print and electronic media, literature, and films. Classroom activities are interactive and collaborative.
Poetry occupies a significantly large space in the public sphere in South Asia. In addition to the expected areas of literature and performing arts, poetry is routinely performed in different domains of everyday life. This course will introduce students to various traditions, texts, and genres of Hindi-Urdu poetry that are routinely publicly performed as part of religious rituals, social practices, performing arts, and protest rallies. We will closely read some of the most widely performed Hindi/Urdu poems as independent literary texts, experience them as performances, and then analyze both texts and performances in their own contexts.
Continuing from SAN 101, this course provides a firm foundation in Classical Sanskrit grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Students continue learning the rules for phonological change (sandhi), and other building blocks of Sanskrit grammar. Students will read Sanskrit texts of increasing difficulty, acquire the skill of recitation of Sanskrit poetry in several meters, and learn to compose small but cohesive narratives of medium difficulty in Sanskrit. By the end of the year, students will be ready to read independent texts in a variety of genres, using Sanskrit-English dictionaries and grammars. SAN 102 must be taken to receive credit for 101.
Strengthens Classical Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary and builds knowledge of South Asian religion and culture through reading selections from Sanskrit epics, narrative, pre-philosophical, didactic, and poetic texts. Together with SAN 105 this course provides students an introduction to the major genres of Sanskrit literature. Requires Sanskrit 105 or permission of the instructor.
This course surveys ideas regarding gender and sexuality at various points in the cultural history of South Asia and how these ideas have shaped women's and men's lives and experiences in the society. We examine how different communities pushed against gender norms and cultural expectations using different ideologies and strategies resulting in a diverse range of feminist projects in South Asia. The course explores ideas about gender, sexuality, and feminism in various domains of South Asian life. Apart from reading scholarship on relevant topics, we analyze primary textual sources, such as religious texts, literary genres, and folklore.
This course examines literature and film by South Asians in North America. Students will gain perspective on the experiences of immigration and diaspora through the themes of identity, memory, solidarity, and resistance. From early Sikh migration to the American West Coast, to Muslim identity in a post 9/11 world, how can South Asian American stories be read as symbolic of the American experience of gender, class, religion, and ethnicity more broadly? Students will hone their skills in reading primary materials, analyzing them within context, writing persuasively, and speaking clearly.
The course explores major myths and narratives of Hindu India. Through mythology and visual art we will look at Indian culture at different historical stages, and at every stage we will observe how the insiders built their relationship with the world, how they understood their place in it, their moral and religious duties, and the right organization of society. We will consider connections between myths and religious practices, social structures, historical events, and psychological and aesthetic dimensions of Indian cultural life. Reading of mythic narratives will be accompanied by analysis from selected theoretical perspectives.
We live in uncertain times, marked by ever-escalating crises. It's no surprise that the moment has seen a revival of utopian thought: a casting about for radical solutions, a quest for dramatic reinvention. Historically, utopia has largely been seen as a Western construct. But what models -and by extension potential solutions- does the non-Western world offer? This course examines utopia from a South Asian perspective. Considering a range of examples (the nation state, Maoist revolution, environmental movements, intentional communities), it asks how change occurs, and what cautionary lessons history offers those seeking a more perfect world.
This is a continuing proficiency-based course which refines and expands previously acquired linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Focus is on expanding vocabulary, mastering more complex grammatical structures, and acquiring idiomatic expressions. Use of authentic Urdu materials from print and electronic media, literature, and films. Equal emphasis on all skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Various aspects of the target language 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
Asian Americans have experienced a long history of contestation regarding gender and sexuality. To examine this saga, we will begin with Black and Asian feminist critiques of normative gender and sexuality. We will then turn to sociocultural history, analyzing legal cases policing intimacy, and the construction of the gendered and sexualized Asian woman in late 19th C. San Francisco. We will then examine histories of normative forms of sexuality, politics and social worlds of queer and trans communities, gendered labor, representation and the post-911 era.
This course will examine where and why women and men are not treated equally, how gender inequality impacts human welfare and development, and what works to minimize gender inequality in the Global South. This course will introduce students to cutting-edge research on gender inequality in countries as diverse as India, China, South Korea, Brazil, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Mali, as well as the reasons why some government efforts to reduce gender inequality are successful while others fail or even backfire. The course will emphasize the importance of culture and norms.
This course introduces students to the Tantric traditions of premodern India through a close study of the idealized religious careers of Tantric initiates. It uses primary sources (in translation) to reconstruct the milestones, practices, and experiences that defined what it meant to be a member of a Hindu or Buddhist Tantric community. We will consider especially the broader religious context, Tantric initiation, and post-initiatory rituals involving yogic exercises, sexual practices, and violent sorcery. Students will also gain an understanding of the relationship between Hindu and Buddhist forms of Tantric scripture and practice.
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.