Introductory Courses in South Asian Studies, 2016-17

SAS 130, Economic History of India
(Fall) M, 3-5:00pm - Sunil Amrith
The economic transformation of India over the past two decades has been dramatic. The contradictions of this transformation—the juxtaposition of new wealth and enduring poverty—are rooted in the region’s economic history. This research seminar explores many dimensions of economic life in colonial and post-colonial India. Topics include: the history of markets and commodities, property and labor; the history of economic ideas in India; the changing nature of economic and social inequality; and the close relationship between economic and cultural change. Students will write a substantial research paper using primary sources.

SAS 176, Gender and the Making of Modern South Asia
(Fall) Tu, Th, 11:30-1pm - Catherine Warner
This course will explore gender history in 20th-century South Asia as well as the methodological importance of history within South Asian gender studies.  We will use gender analysis to understand the shaping of nationalism and anti-colonialism, public and private spheres, the state, conflict, popular culture, and the construction of South Asia as a region. Further, we will trace the development of women’s movements and feminisms in modern South Asia. Students will consider how gender intersects with multiple forms of identity while thinking about how South Asia can offer a unique site for theorizing gender in the modern world.

SAS 177, Time, History, and Narrative in Modern South Asia
(Spring) TBA – Catherine Warner
(Description forthcoming)

SAS 193, Class and the City in Indian Cinema
(Fall) M, 1-3:00pm - Shankar Ramaswami
This course will examine imaginaries and understandings of class and cities in Indian cinema. How are struggles for earnings and mobility in the city - of migrants, workers, and middle classes - represented in Indian cinema? In what ways is the city viewed as a space of ethical deviations and compromises? How does class shape experiences of friendship, family, and erotic love? What visions of politics, justice, and hope arise in Indian cinema? The course will explore these questions in commercial, art, and documentary films (in Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi, with English subtitles), along with readings in history, anthropology, and cinema studies. Screenings will include films by Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Muzaffar Ali, and Anand Patwardhan.

SAS 196, Capitalism and Cosmology in Modern India
(Spring) M, 1-3:00pm - Shankar Ramaswami
This course will seek to understand unfolding processes of development in contemporary India through explorations of the lives, politics, and cosmologies of poor and working people.  The course will examine debates on growth, development, and ecology; experiences of migration, work, slums, and cities (Delhi and Mumbai); and the ethical ideals, political activities, and cosmological visions of working people.  The course will draw on a range of sources, including ethnographies, economics, religious studies, narrative nonfiction, novels, Hindi cinema, and documentaries.

CULTBLF 60, Religion in India: Texts and Traditions in a Complex Society
(Fall) Tu, Th, 11:30-1pm - Diana Eck
An exploration of the classical texts, spiritual teachings, epic narratives, and religious movements that have shaped a complex civilization for some three thousand years, from the Indus Valley to today. Readings in primary sources - Vedas and Upanishads, Buddhist and Jain teachings, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita, Bhakti and Sufi poets, Sikh gurus and Muslim kings. Attention to the creation of a rich and composite civilization and the ways in which these sources continue to be of significance to the understanding of modern India.

ETHRSON 19, The Good Life in Classical India
(Spring) Tu, Th, 11-12:00pm - Parimal G. Patil
What is a good life? How does it relate to personal happiness, to being a good ruler, citizen, or lover? What is the relative value of justice, citizenship, loyalty, friendship, personal profit, and pleasure? Is the good life the same for everyone? This course is devoted to investigating how classical South Asian intellectuals approached such questions and to thinking critically about their responses. As we will see, far from being mere artifacts from someone else's historical past, classical South Asian texts provide powerful frameworks for thinking about our own lives and the ways in which we reason about them.

FRSEMR 32X, Topics in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism
(Fall) Tu, 1-4:00pm – Leonard van der Kuijp
Through the study of Tibetan Buddhism, the members of the seminar will consider important issues of cultural contact by investigating a series of interrelated topics that have played a significant role in Tibetan history and that are connected to Tibet’s acculturation to Buddhism in the eighth and ninth centuries. Which aspects of Tibetan Buddhism are indigenous? Which were imported with Buddhism itself from China and India? The seminar will seek to answer these questions through the study of several historical aspects of Tibetan society including the different narratives of Tibetan kingship, the formation of schools of Buddhist thought, the transmission of texts, scholastic loyalty, monasteries and their inhabitants, the appearance of Buddhist mysticism in the Tantra, and reincarnation—one of the defining features of Tibetan Buddhism. After developing a sense of the historic role of Buddhism in Tibetan life, the members of the seminar will consider the role of Buddhism and the Dalai Lama in contemporary Tibetan culture and society.

HIST 13Q, Migration in South Asia, 1500-2000
(Spring) Th, 2-4:00pm – Catherine Warner
How has migration shaped South Asia as a region across time? What distinguishes contemporary movements of people from pre-colonial circulation? How have ordinary people used mobility to negotiate colonial and post-colonial power structures? Beginning with the early modern period, this course will examine how migration has informed the cultures, politics, and social life of the subcontinent. Topics will include forced and voluntary migration, imperial circuits and labor, national border regimes, gender, information networks, diaspora, urbanization, and globalization. Students will investigate methods and theories of historical migration studies in order to shape their own research projects.

REL 1600, Introduction to the Hindu Traditions of India
(Fall) Tu, Th, 10-11:30am – Anne Monius
An introduction to the many distinct yet interrelated religious traditions of South Asia that are often labeled "Hinduism."  This course considers the ways in which Hindus from a variety of historical time periods, local traditions, and social backgrounds have attempted to make sense of their world and their lives within it.

SOCWORLD 36, Modern India and South Asia
(Fall) Tu, Th, 2-3:00pm – Sugata Bose
This course provides the historical depth and the comparative context in which to understand modern and contemporary South Asia. It explores the history, culture, and political economy of the subcontinent which provides a fascinating laboratory to study such themes as colonialism, nationalism, partition, the modern state, democracy development, religious identities, and relations between Asia and the West. Significant use of primary written sources (in English) and multi-media presentations.

SOCWORLD 37, Asian Diasporas
(Spring) Tu, Th, 10-11:00am – Michael Szonyi and Sunil Amrith
The movement of people from China and India around the world are among the great migrations of history.  This class explores Chinese and Indian emigration past and present, examining similarities and distinctions between (and among) these two great migrations. We focus on the connections between communities overseas, their encounters with each other and with other diasporas. The fundamental questions this class considers are: how have migrants from India and China shaped the modern world? How do their journeys relate to other migrations? These are questions that should be of interest not only to people of Asian descent, but to everyone.