Courses in South Asian Studies, 2020-21

 

FALL 2020

 

ANTHRO 2702, Political Economy*
Instructor: Ajantha Subramanian; Time TBA (fall 2020) 
The course considers the relationship between the political and the economic through readings of classical texts in social theory, histories of capitalist transformation, and anthropological approaches to the economy as a culturally embedded phenomenon.
 

DPI 418, The Rise of Authoritarian Populism*
Instructor: Pippa Norris; T, 3:00pm-4:15pm (fall 2020)
The rise of authoritarian populist forces in recent years has generated new challenges in many affluent societies and long-established democracies, such as the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Greece, and France, as well as destabilizing states worldwide, such as in Venezuela, Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, the Philippines, Thailand, and India. What explains the rise of these forces? What are the consequences? And what can be done to mitigate the risks? This course analyzes these issues from a comparative perspective, to understand America in a broader context. The course covers: (i) the core concepts and meanings of populism and the classification of authoritarian and libertarian forms of populist parties and leaders; (ii) explanations focused on cultural value change, economic grievances, patterns of race and immigration, electoral rules, and party competition; (iii) the impact on the civic culture and the policy agenda; and (iv) alternative strategic policy responses. The course is assessed through group exercises and papers.

 

ESPP 90N, Addressing the Global Climate Crisis: Challenges for Both Developed and Developing Economies*
Instructors: Michael McElroy & Shaojie Song; Time TBA (fall 2020)
The seminar will discuss the nature of the climate challenge and the implications it poses for different communities and different parts of the world. Mitigating negative impacts of human induced climate change will require an urgent transition from the current global fossil fuel-based energy economy to one based on renewable alternatives. Possibilities include wind, solar, hydro, biomass and potentially nuclear. The seminar will review options with specific attention to differences in the challenges faced by developed economies such as the US and Europe and large developing economies such as China, India and parts of Africa. Can we chart a feasible path to net zero global carbon emissions by 2050?

 

FRSEMR 34X, Language and Prehistory*
Instructor: Jay Jasanoff; M, 3:00pm-5:45pm (fall 2020)
It was discovered around 1800 that the major languages of Europe, along with the ancient languages of India and Iran, were descended from an unattested parent, formerly known as “Aryan” or “Indo-Germanic,” but today usually called Proto-Indo-European. The identification of the Indo-European family raised many questions, some purely linguistic (e.g., what was Proto-Indo-European like; was it grammatically complex or “primitive”?), and some more far-reaching (e.g., who were the speakers of Proto-Indo-European; why did Indo-European languages spread so widely?). Questions of the first type eventually led to the birth of the academic field of historical linguistics. Questions of the second type, however, led many nineteenth- and early twentieth-century intellectuals to posit a genetically and culturally superior Aryan “race.” This idea is now universally rejected, but evidence from language still figures importantly in specula­tion about the remote past. Recent debates about the origins of “Western civilization,” for example, center on the alleged presence of Egyptian elements in Greek, while theories about the settlement of the Americas sometimes cite supposed linguistic connections between the New World and other continents. This seminar, after surveying the basic elements of historical linguistics, will explore the use and misuse of such methods. What, if anything, does the fact that languages are related tell us about their speakers? How can we distinguish genuine cases of language contact or “influence” from the kinds of resemblances that come about through pure chance? Answers to questions like these will be sought through case studies, with readings chosen to illustrate and contrast scholarly and unscholarly approaches. The work for the course will consist of readings, four or five short problem sets, and a final project with both written and oral components.
 

FRSEMR 63X, Happiness and Different Ways of Life*
Instructor: Susanna Rinard; W, 12:00pm-2:45pm (fall 2020)
What is happiness, and what can we learn from different ways of life about what conduces to human happiness? In this seminar we begin with an overview of thought in philosophy and contemporary science about the nature of happiness (our guide: Sissela Bok’s book Exploring Happiness). We then consider a few different ways of life. First, we look at modern-day Buddhist approaches to the search for happiness (our guide: Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness). This will provide a context in which we can consider to what extent internal conditions—your mental habits, your attitude, your overall outlook—are determinants of happiness. Then we turn to a study of the lifestyles of prehistoric humans, and consider their approaches to child-rearing, dispute resolution, and more (our guide: Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday). Looking at these radically different cultures will prompt us to consider whether our modern society could benefit from re-adopting some aspects of these ways of life. Finally, we look at the conditions of poor women in India, and what we can learn from them about justice and quality of life (our guide: Martha Nussbaum’s Women and Human Development). We will consider both the devastating effects of oppression and certain kinds of material poverty, as well as the ways in which people can nonetheless flourish in difficult circumstances. Throughout the course we will see what can be learned by combining abstract philosophical reflection on happiness with attention to the details of the actual lives of human beings at different places and times.

 

FRSEMR 70S, Sex, Money, and Power in the Postcolonial World*
Instructor: George Paul Meiu; W, 12:00pm-2:45pm (fall 2020)
With globalization, sex—everywhere—has become more central to who we are as citizens and consumers, how we gain rights and resources, and how we relate to others as members of a specific race, ethnicity, region, or culture. Worldwide, states invest or disinvest in people according to how they have sex, adopt gender identities, or sustain sexual morality. Terrorist organizations claim to use violence to reestablish bastions of piety and sexual propriety; various populist movements imagine immigrants and refugees to threaten their societies, in part, by failing to uphold the sexual norms of adopting countries; and transnational NGOs and activists seek to “rescue” or “rehabilitate” sex workers, gays, lesbians, transgender, and other people vulnerable for their intimate and social lives. The growing importance of sex to a global consumer culture only heightens the rush to secure societies from the so-called “perversions of globalization.” Tourists now travel for sex to various destinations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean; poor, unemployed men and women, in former colonies, sometimes use sex as a means of enrichment and empowerment; and amidst the rise of religious fundamentalisms, commodity ads incite youths to consume sex along other goods to build authentic selves. In this seminar, we ask: Why does sexuality become so central to how we imagine our world and futures? Why is sex so important in defining us, as subjects and populations? And how do older colonial stereotypes of race, ethnicity, and culture shape sexuality politics in the new global order? To address these questions, we read about how sex relates to politics and the economy in countries shaped by the histories of colonialism in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Europe; watch documentaries about prostitution and sex tourism; and jointly curate a small museum exhibit about sexuality in the postcolonial world.

 

GENED 1036, Global Feminisms*
Instructor: Durba Mitra; M/W, 10:30am-11:45am (fall 2020)
Feminism shapes the world we live in today. Debates about women's and sexual rights define almost every public debate today -- from sexual harassment, to electoral politics, to development, public health, human rights, and political protest. But when, and where, did ideas of women's equal rights and liberation emerge? This course digs into the deep history of feminism from a global perspective. It traces the intimate relationship between feminism, colonialism, and racism in case studies from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, from the eighteenth century until today. We will immerse ourselves in rare materials on transnational and global feminisms in digital archives and use the tools of feminist thought to critically engage concepts like decolonization and decarceration. Over the course of the semester, you will build a toolkit of critical thinking and writing skills by engaging diverse primary sources, including political writings of women of color and colonized women, short stories, posters, movies, and human rights reports. You will come away from the course having a deeper understanding of ideas of equality and justice that define politics today. Readings will highlight marginalized authors, women writers, especially women of color authors, from previously enslaved women in the US South to indigenous people to colonized women in India and Africa. Reading assignments will focus on primary historical sources and encompass diverse genres, from political thought and speeches to fantasy fiction and posters. Students will build critical skills through assignments that build source analysis skills over the course of the semester, including a feminist mixtape, a short reflective response to online archives, and a final creative project.

 

GENED 1098, Natural Disasters*
Instructor: Brendan Meade; T/Th 3:00pm-4:15pm (fall 2020)
From Mexico to India, San Francisco to Tokyo, natural disasters have shaped both the surface of our planet and the development of civilizations. These catastrophes claim thousands of lives and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage each year, and the impact of natural disasters is only increasing as a result of human population growth and urbanization. This course uses the methods and skills associated with earth science to help you to develop an understanding of both the causes and impacts of these events. By the end of this course, then, you will be able to understand the ways in which societies can systematically anticipate and prepare for the kinds of natural disasters which many people have come to assume are inevitable.

 

GENED 1166, Pluralism: Case Studies in American Diversity*
Instructor: Diana Eck; T/Th, 3:00pm-4:15pm (fall 2020)
Who do we mean when we say “we?” How does a society deal with religious, ethical, and cultural diversity? What challenges do we face as people of different communities encounter one another in cities and public institutions, schools and businesses, neighborhoods and families? These are urgent questions in many nations today, but in this course, we focus on the United States. We explore, discuss, and analyze the changing multi-cultural and multi-religious landscape of America with an eye to the growing Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sikh communities in the most recent period of post-1965 immigration. In what contexts do these and other minority communities encounter America’s secularism, its commitment to religious freedom, and its long-dominant Christian and Jewish communities? Our approach will be through the study and in-class discussion of case-studies enabling you to enter into some of the controversies and dilemmas that confront schools, universities, town councils, zoning boards, and places of work. You will be challenged to take the perspective of mayors and concerned citizens, teachers and executives, religious and civic leaders –all confronting the choices and changes of a dynamic society. You will inevitably consider your own perspective on the issues we engage. You will gain a deeper understanding of the religious complexity of America and a new sense of the challenges confronting “we the people.”

 

GOV 94OF, Law and Politics in Multicultural Democracies*
Instructor: Ofrit Liviatan; Time TBA (fall 2020)
Examines the role of law in the governance of cultural diversity drawing on examples from the USA, Western Europe, India, Northern Ireland, and Israel. Central themes at the intersection of law and politics will be explored, including: the impact of courts on rights protections, law's function as a venue of conflict resolution, and courts' relationship with other political institutions. Specific attention will be given to contemporary controversies such as religious symbols and abortion.

 

HDS 3399, Introduction to Hinduism
Instructor: Sravana Borkataky-Varma, T/Th, 10:30am-11:45am (fall 2020)
The religious tradition that we now know as Hinduism originated on the South Asian peninsula and developed over the course of the last 3500 years. This course examines the principal themes of traditional Hinduism. It gives special attention to the historical development of the tradition and its relation to social and cultural life in India. We will evaluate how Hinduism arose and how it developed over time in response to social, cultural, and historical variables. To the extent possible, the course will examine different forms of Hindu religious expression created within India. These include written texts that have been significant in the Hindu tradition, but they also comprise rituals that have been central to religious life, patterns of social action that embody Hindu values, and images and architecture that display the form and powers of the world. They thus offer the student of religion a unique opportunity to reflect comparatively and globally on the diverse histories, functions, and roles of religion in human civilizations, not to mention contemporary geopolitics.

 

HIST 12I, Statelessness
Instructor: Kalyani Ramnath; Th 3:00pm-5:00pm (fall 2020)
Instances of statelessness and refugeedom dominate headlines today. But what does “statelessness” mean? Rather than solely focusing on contemporary legal interpretations of statelessness, this course emphasizes twentieth century global, regional, and national histories within which statelessness emerged as a political and legal category. Engaging judgments, treaties, videos, and images, students explore postwar displacement, decolonization, postwar reconstruction and Cold War tensions. The course also dwells on the limits of refugee regimes: including the partition of India, forced repatriations in Sri Lanka, and asylum-seeking in Hong Kong. A final module discusses ethical and political issues at stake in writing histories of statelessness, and discusses potential archives, including the use of oral histories.

 

HIST 1036, Modern South Asia
Instructor: Sugata Bose; M/W, 12:00pm-1:15pm (fall 2020)
This course provides the historical depth in which to understand modern and contemporary South Asia in broad Indian Ocean and global contexts. 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. Course Notes: No prior college level History is required or assumed. Students seeking to fulfill their Social Sciences distribution requirement and freshmen welcome.

 

HIST 2690, Asia in the Modern World: Seminar
Instructors: Sugata Bose & Amartya Sen; T, 9:45am-11:45am (fall 2020)
This graduate seminar investigates the contemporary rise of Asia in historical context with a focus on comparisons and connections between India and China.


HLS 2424 / IGA 355M, Migration and Human Rights*
Instructor: Jacqueline Bhabha; M/W, 1:30pm-2:45pm (fall 2020)
Migration is a central moral issue of our time and its impacts will alter our world throughout this century. It affects the lives of millions, unsettles established governments, creates sharply polarizing policy dilemmas and posits far-reaching administrative, economic and political challenges.  This course will focus on distress migration, including refugee flight and other forms of forced displacement, evaluated through the lens of human rights.  It will address the multifaceted drivers of this complex phenomenon, including armed conflict, environmental stress and climate change, global inequality, demographic pressures and increasing globalization.  Migration practitioners from a range of field sites will contribute to the classroom conversation to create a more global classroom discussion and to enhance project-based learning. The course will consider historical precedents to the current refugee and migration "crisis," using case studies of massive past population displacements (e.g., Greek-Turkish population exchange post World War I, partition of British India and Palestine peri/post World War II) as instructive guides for contemporary problems.  The course will raise ethical and philosophical issues related to the duties owed to "outsiders" to probe the moral, religious and political underpinnings of current approaches.  It will introduce students to the international and regional legal framework governing refugee protection and migration more broadly.  It will engage with the multiple risks migrants face before, during and after their journeys and with and with current policy developments, at the municipal, national, regional and international level, including the ongoing efforts of the United Nations to craft two new Global Compacts on Refugees and on Migration.  Finally, the course will enable students to apply legal and other approaches to the analysis of migration challenges.  The material for this will be a range of contemporary case studies, including refugee situations in the Mediterranean and Sub Saharan Africa, conflict-fueled migration as well as migration flows arising from environmental displacement in the Middle East, disaster fueled migration in Asia, irregular migration in the Americas, and seasonal internal migration in Asia involving bonded-labor.


IGA 116, Great Power Competition in the International System*
Instructor: Nicholas Burns; Section A - T, 6:00pm-8:45pm / Section B - W, 10:30am-1:15pm (fall 2020)
The global balance of power is changing dramatically.  This course focuses on the compelling transformation we are witnessing: the return of China to great power status; the changing nature of European and Russian power; the new roles that India, Brazil, South Africa and others are exercising in global politics; and, most importantly, the change in U.S. leadership under President Donald Trump’s America First agenda.  Our major objective will be to discuss and debate whether the strongest global powers can find ways to cooperate in addressing the most consequential challenges ahead in the next decade—climate change and changing energy dynamics; nuclear proliferation; regional wars; cyber threats; the scourge of pandemics; the refugee crisis; and other issues.  We will also examine competition among the great powers in the U.S.-China struggle for regional and global power; the North Korea nuclear crisis; the South and East China Sea conflicts; the Middle East wars; renewed divisions in Europe; and in the race for dominance in the new technologies of the digital age, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum computing.  We will conclude the course by investigating what the world power balance might look like in 2050 and examining the more positive economic, technological, and social trends that should give us some urgently needed hope as we think about the global future.

 

ISLAMCIV 163 / RELIGION 1802, Introduction to Islamic Mystical Traditions*
Instructor: Ali Asani; T, 12:00pm-2:00pm (fall 2020)
This course offers an introductory survey of mystical traditions of Islam, popularly labelled as “Sufism.” It explores the fundamental concepts, practices, and institutions associated with these traditions, their historical development and their influence on the devotional, cultural and social lives of Muslim communities through the centuries. Through case studies drawn from the Middle East, South Asia, West Africa and North America, the course examines ways in which these traditions have developed and promoted alternative perspectives on what it means to be Muslim, challenging in recent times sectarian, legalistic and politicized understandings of Islam such as Wahhabi, Islamism and jihadism. The course assumes no prior knowledge of Islam. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3620.

 

ISLAMCIV 178 / RELIGION 1820, Being Muslim in South Asia: Religion, Culture and Identity
Instructor: Ali Asani; W, 12:45pm-2:45pm (fall 2020)
South Asia is home to the largest population of Muslims in the world. And yet, within South Asia, Muslims are a minority. What is Islam and what does it mean to be Muslim in South Asia? After briefly examining the historical development of Islamic institutions in the subcontinent, this course will focus on how ideas about Islam are shaped by evolving literary, linguistic, social and political landscapes. Special attention will be given to the effects of colonial and nationalist ideologies on Muslim experiences in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as the disputed territory of Kashmir. We will also explore the impact of reform and revivalist movements and state-enforced policies of “Islamization” and “Hinduization” on women and minorities. The course is appropriate for those who want a bird's eye view of the Islamic tradition in South Asia, as well as those interested in exploring issues facing contemporary Muslim societies beyond the Middle East. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3625.


MUSIC 157RW, South Indian Music Theory & Practice
Instructor: Richard Wolf; T/Th, 4:30pm-5:30pm (fall 2020)
Analysis of south Indian classical composition and improvisational forms as performed in the world today.  Students will learn the basics of south Indian singing and hands-on methods of active listening.  Students who wish to will have the opportunity to play this music on instruments with which they are already familiar.

PHIL 155, Topics in Philosophy of Religion*
Instructor: Parimal Patil; M/W, 10:30am-11:45am (fall 2020)
In this course, we will discuss the work of contemporary philosophers whose treatment of problems in philosophy of language (Dummett), epistemology and metaphysics (Johnston), and mind (Strawson) have a direct bearing on issues in the philosophy of religion.


RELIGION 1059, Who Needs God? Rethinking God in Light of Hindu and Christian Theologies
Instructor: Francis Clooney, M/W, 10:30am-11:45am (fall 2020)
This course reflects on God — the idea, the reality, the significance — in light of Hindu and Christian scriptures, from philosophical and theological perspectives, and with reference to spiritual paths to union with God — all re-read in light of modern theological questions and doubts about the very idea of “God.” Issues include: the meaning of “God” and knowledge of God; reasons to believe (or not) in God's existence; God's relationship to the world, humans, all living beings; divine embodiment and salvation by God; theism and polytheism before and after secularism and atheism. Knowing both Hindu and Christian traditions on God clarifies each tradition, as we learn from their great similarities and great differences. And: how might studying God comparatively change our God-talk, God-practice, God-love here and now? Quiet course for noisy times. Weekly written responses, plus two 10-12 page papers. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3751.


RELIGION 1420, Early Christian Thought 3: The Syriac Tradition*
Instructor: Charles Stang; T/Th 10:30am-11:45am (fall 2020)
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the Syriac Christian tradition in the late antique and medieval periods. Syriac-speaking Christians constitute an ancient community that stretched from the Eastern Mediterranean to China, a community diverse in its beliefs and practices, prolific and accomplished in its literary output, and bound by a common language (Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic). This course will cover the early, diverse period of Syriac literature (2nd and 3rd centuries); the subsequent "golden" age of Syriac literature, associated with such authors as Ephrem and Jacob of Serug; some forms of asceticism and spirituality peculiar to Syriac Christianity; and finally, the stretch of Syriac Christianity eastward, to India and China. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 1751.


RELIGION 1661, The Yoga Sutras: Text, Meaning, Purpose
Instructor: Francis Clooney; T, 3:00pm-5:30pm (fall 2020)
The brief Yoga Sutras (only 195 sutras) of Patanjali (c 100 BCE-100 CE) is a vastly influential and fundamental text of yoga. It is the focus of the course, along with its primary commentary (Vyasa’s Bhasya), notes on other commentaries, and with some attention to BKS Iyengar’s famous Light on the Yoga Sutras. What was Patanjali up to? What are the Sutras for? What do the Sutras tell us about the meaning and purpose of yoga then and now? Though not a course about the practice of yoga or yoga in the modern world, it is always attentive to the implications for practice. Thus potentially of great use for practitioners and teachers today. Apt comparisons will be made with ancient Hindu and Buddhist parallels, Al-Biruni’s 11th c. Arabic translation, and modern Christian interpretations of the Sutras. Given our stressful situation, possibly some optional yoga practice together at start or end of class. Weekly written responses, plus two twelve-page course papers. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3931.


RELIGION 1731, Women, Gender, and the Quest for Social Justice: Cases in Buddhism
Instructor: Janet Gyatso; T/Th, 3:00pm-4:15pm (fall 2020)
We will do two things in this course: take in the history, literature, visual imagery, and theoretical pronouncements around the nature of women and gender in Buddhist materials; and cultivate the critical and hermeneutical skills for processing these materials and contributing to a just and woke future.  We will read together a variety of Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantric Buddhist texts, displaying repressive, subversive, and liberative visions alike. We will study autobiographical writing of historical women, images of female divinity, and notions of non-binary genders as well as the third sex.  Significant attention will be paid to the contemporary female ordination movement, and to other modern Buddhist efforts for social justice and environmental protection.  Lectures may be taped and viewed before class, and small breakout discussion groups will be an important part of the in-class pedagogy. Prior knowledge of Buddhism helpful but not required. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3577.


RELIGION 1812, Islam and Religious Diversity
Instructor: Nicholas Boylston; M, 3:00pm-5:00pm (fall 2020)
The problem of religious diversity recurs in all of the major branches of Islamic thought and appears in complex permutations in diverse cultural contexts. Focusing primarily on pre- modern Islam, this course invites students to investigate perspectives on the religious other in the Quran, Islamic law, theology, philosophy and Sufism. In the final portion of the course we will look at Muslim Spain, Mughal India, and the Muslim-Confucians of late imperial China as examples of how these complex dynamics played out on the ground. The larger aim of this course is for students to develop interpretive skill in dealing with the internal complexity of a number of Islamic discourses and contexts by pursuing a single problematic across them. To this end the course will be taught in seminar format and participants will be encouraged to engage creatively with primary and secondary sources to develop their own scholarly points of view. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3038.

 

SANSKRIT 108, Introduction to Vedic Literature and Culture
Instructor: Michael Witzel; T, 3:00pm-5:00pm (fall 2020)
This course discusses the earliest Indian texts, c. 1200-500 BCE.  Reading and interpreting excerpts (in English) from the Rgveda, Atharvaveda, Yajurveda prose, Brahmanas/Aranyakas, Upanisads, and early Sutras: their contents, poetics/style, and ritual, philosophical, cultural background. -- along with the development of Indo-European-derived, complicated religious poetry to technical ritual prose, and philosophical speculation in the Upanisads.

 

SANSKRIT 150, Introduction to Vedic Language
Instructor: Michael Witzel; Th, 3:00pm-5:00pm (fall 2020)
This course is an introduction to the earliest form of Sanskrit language, including its main features that differ from classical Sanskrit: nouns, verbs, syntax, and vocabulary. Reading of excerpts from the texts in the original, in historical order are: Rgveda, Atharvaveda, early Yajurveda prose, Brahmanas/Aranyakas, Upanisads, and early Sutras, with a discussion of language change over some 1000 years.

 

SAS 183, The Vernacular in South Asia: Language, Culture and Politics
Instructor: Sravanthi Kollu; Th, 9:45am-11:45am (fall 2020)
Language has long been a gateway to South Asia, a region famed for its linguistic diversity and multilingual populations. Language has also been of perennial interest for historians, literary scholars and philosophers. This introductory course will enable you to connect the region with these broader concerns by examining how and why language became significant for comprehending the modern world and how this changed the relationship of individuals, cultures and societies to language. The course makes South Asia the center of its enquiry and will focus on the region’s significance for contemporary analyses of language, such as language’s links to colonialism, the public sphere, political representation, modern theology and subalternity. It is also designed to deepen your understanding of language and its uses in your life and writing. To that end, we will explore how texts in a variety of genres (literature, history, political tracts and non-academic writing) by diverse writers (academics, public intellectuals and political figures) have made claims about language and its relationship to the self and the world. You will use these readings to produce a mix of academic and non-academic writing through the semester, including a semester long translation project that will relate to your interests outside this course. All texts will be made available in English or English translation. No prior knowledge of South Asia or South Asian languages required but you will be encouraged to draw on any existing proficiency in languages other than English. For more information about the course, see https://sites.google.com/g.harvard.edu/thevernacularinsouthasia/home.

 

SES 5502, Urban Governance and the Politics of Planning in the Developing World*
Instructors: Diane Davis; M/W, 10:00am-11:30am / Enrique Silva; M, 3:00pm-6:00pm (fall 2020)
This course starts from the premise that politics and governance arrangements can both enable and constrain effective urban planning action.  Using a focus on cities in the developing world, the course examines an array of governance structures (centralized versus decentralized institutions; local versus national states; participatory budgeting, etc.) and political conditions (democracy versus authoritarianism; neoliberal versus populist versus leftist party politics; social movements) that are relatively common to cities of the global south. In addition to assessing the impacts of these structures and conditions on urban policy formation and implementation, the course asks which governance arrangements and/or political contexts are more or less likely to produce equitable, inclusive, and sustainable urban environments. To address these questions, the course is structured around discussion of cases and theories that give us the basis for documenting the ways that politics affect urban policy and the built environment of the city more generally. Among a range of policy domains, special attention is paid to transportation, housing, informal vending, and mega-project development, with most examples drawn from Latin America, South Asia, and East Asia.

 

TIBET 213, Introduction to the Literature of the Bka' gdams pa School and the Monastery of Gsang phu ne'u thog
Instructor: Leonard van der Kuijp; T, 12:00pm-2:45pm (fall 2020)
This course will examine the history and literature of the Bka' gdams pa school using the chronicles of Tshal pa Kun dga' rdo rje, Shākya rin chen sde, and the Rgya bod yig tshang. Special attention will be paid to the scholarly traditions of Gsang phu sne'u thog monastery and the vast collection of Bka' dams pa texts that were published in China. Prerequisite: At least one year of classical Tibetan.

 

TIBET 214, Readings in 'Ba' ra ba Rgyal mtshan dpal bzang po's (1310-1391) Minor Writings on Buddhist Practice
Instructor: Leonard van der Kuijp; Th, 12:00pm-2:45pm (fall 2020)
'Ba' ra ba, a master of the 'Brug pa sect of the Bka' brgyud pa school, was a versatile author and wrote on a large number of subjects, both esoteric and exoteric. This course will concentrate on reading a select number of his more accessible writings or portions thereof. Prerequisite: At least one year of classical Tibetan.

 

 

SPRING 2021

 

ANTHRO 1815, Empire, Nation, Diaspora: Asians in the U.S.*
Instructor: Ajantha Subramanian; Time TBA (spring 2021)
The U.S. is commonly described as a multicultural society and Asian Americans as "model minorities" with strong group identities. But when did multiculturalism become a defining characteristic of American society? What is its relationship to race and class? Why did migrants from Asia come here and how has their reception changed over time? When do they call themselves "Asians" and when do they privilege other self-representations? We will explore these questions through history, anthropology, literature, and film.

 

ENGLISH 290MH / ROM-STD 290, Migration and the Humanities*
Instructors: Homi Bhabha & Mariano Siskind; Time TBA (spring 2021)
By focusing on literary narratives, cultural representations, and critical theories, this course explores ways in which issues related to migration create rich and complex interdisciplinary conversations. How do humanistic disciplines address these issues—human rights, cultural translation, global justice, security, citizenship, social discrimination, biopolitics—and what contributions do they make to the “home” disciplines of migration studies such as law, political science, and sociology? How do migration narratives compel us to revise our concepts of culture, polity, neighborliness, and community? We will explore diverse aspects of migration from existential, ethical, and philosophical perspectives while engaging with specific regional and political histories.

 

GENED 1134, Understanding Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies*
Instructor: Ali Asani; Time TBA (spring 2021)
The course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Islam and the role that religious ideas and institutions play in Muslim communities around the world. Its main concern is to develop an understanding of the manner in which diverse notions of religious and political authority have influenced Muslim societies politically, socially and culturally. Through specific case studies of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the course considers the role played by ideologies such as jihad, colonialism, nationalism, secularism, and globalization in shaping the ways in which Muslims interpret and practice their faith today. The course briefly considers the contemporary situation of Muslim minorities in Europe and the United States. The course, through on-campus and on-line options, allows those enrolled to engage with students from all over the world. Note: Course has a weekly section to be arranged. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3628.

 

HAA 11, Landmarks of World Architecture*
Instructors: David Roxburgh & Patricio del Real; T/Th, 12:00pm-1:15pm (spring 2021)
Examines major works of world architecture and the unique aesthetic, cultural, and historical issues that frame them. Faculty members will each lecture on an outstanding example in their area of expertise, drawing from various historical periods and diverse cultures such as modern and contemporary Europe and America, early modern Japan, Mughal India, Renaissance Europe, and ancient Egypt. Weekly discussion sections will develop thematically, expanding on the given examples to focus on significant issues in the analysis and interpretation of architecture.

 

HDS 3248, Buddhist Meditations: Principles and Practices
Instructors: Janet Gyatso & James Robson, W, 1:00pm-3:00pm (spring 2021)
This class will study the history of Buddhist meditation traditions, from early Pali and Sanskrit scriptures through developments like Zen and Tantra.  It will look closely at what happens in meditative states, how Buddhist contemplation traditions have changed, and what elements we can say are found in virtually all periods and places in Buddhist history. All readings in English translation.


HDS 3391, Introduction to Hindu Spiritual Ministries
Instructor: Francis Clooney; Th, 12:00pm-2:00pm (spring 2021)
Team-taught with Swami Tyagananda, Director, Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in Boston and Harvard’s Hindu chaplain, this new course explores starting points, attitudes, and specific ways of ministering distinctive to Hindu spiritual care and ministry, in light of general qualities and norms expected for ministry and spiritual care today, in any tradition. Attention paid first to starting points in Hindu scripture and practice, with a subsequent focus on cases: e.g., hospital chaplaincy and care for the dying; campus ministry; counseling of individuals facing life issues; guidance for couples preparing to marry and planning a family; and, of necessity, responses to the suffering, death, and disruption caused by natural and social evils. Visiting lecturers, experienced in Hindu spiritual care, will enrich the course. Students of any background welcome, but enrollment limited. Weekly written reflections, and theoretical or practical course project/essay required.


HDS 3544, Indian and Tibetan Yogācāra: Buddhist Idealism, Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind
Instructor: Jay Garfield; M, 12:00pm-3:00pm (spring 2021)
This seminar introduces students to Yogācāra thought as it developed in India and as it was understood in certain Tibetan commentarial and philosophical literature, with a bit of a peek at how Yogācāra ideas crop up in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Yogācāra school is often described as Buddhist idealism. More recent scholarly reassessment has also seen important strands of phenomenological investigation in Yogācāra.  The Yogācāra literature is large and complex, and probably includes texts that fit on both sides of this divide. Yogācāra philosophers also contribute to the philosophy of mind, epistemology and the philosophy of language, and much if this work is independent of questions about idealism.  Our goal will be to limn the contours of this school and to ask what insights are relevant to contemporary philosophical problems on the one hand, and to Buddhist philosophy more broadly on the other. We will read texts by and about Vasubandhu, Asaṅga, Sthiramāti and Dignāga in India, as well as some Tibetan texts that take up these themes and some recent scholarship addressing this material. All texts will be taught in English translation, but for students interested in reading in Tibetan, we can set up separate sessions.


HIST 97E, "What is Imperial History?"
Instructor: Sugata Bose; Th, 12:00pm-2:45pm (spring 2021)
Though empires have recently disappeared from the map, for historians these sprawling multi-ethnic, multi-confessional states remain crucial laboratories for the study of violence, power, ideology, aesthetics, and identity. This section will introduce students to the many ways historians define empires and interpret the experiences of those who inhabited them. How does one write the history of such diverse, expansive entities? How does imperial history incorporate the perspectives of disenfranchised, enslaved, and colonized peoples? What is its scale? How does the work of historians relate to images of empire generated through public commemoration and popular memory? Course Notes: Required of all History concentrators and offered every spring semester. Typically taken in the spring term of sophomore year, but first-semester sophomores planning to concentrate in History are encouraged to take it at the first opportunity. Open to students taking a secondary field in History and to students in other concentrations (space permitting). This course may not be audited or taken Pass/Fail. It enrolls prior to shopping period through the History concentration. Please contact the ADUS in History or the admin tutor in History 97 (Matthew Sohm, msohm@g.harvard.edu), if you wish to enroll without being a regular-sequence concentrator in History, preferably by Thanksgiving.

 

ISLAMCIV 184 / RELIGION 1814, Muslim Devotional Literatures in South Asia: Qawwalis, Sufiana Kalam (Sufi Poetry) and the Ginans
Instructor: Ali Asani; W, 12:45pm-2:45pm (spring 2021)
This course explores traditions of Islamic spirituality in South Asia through the lens of three genres: the qawwali, concerts of mystical poetry; sufiana kalam, Sufi romantic epics and folk poems; and the ginans, hymns of esoteric wisdom recited by the Satpanthi Ismailis. Since these genres represent examples of language, symbols and styles of worship shared across Islamic and non-Islamic denominational boundaries, we will also examine their relationships with other Indic traditions of devotion, particularly those associated with the so-called sant and Hindu bhakti movements. Special emphasis will be given to the impact of contemporary political ideologies, globalization and the revolution in media technology on the form and function of these genres and their relationship with contemporary communities of faith in South Asia and beyond. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3375.

 

LING 107, Introduction to Indo-European
Instructor: Jay Jasanoff; Time TBA (spring 2021)
An introduction to the historical study of the Indo-European languages, using the comparative method to arrive at a picture of the parent language of the family, Proto-Indo-European.

 

LING 221R, Workshop in Indo-European
Instructor: Jay Jasanoff; Time TBA (spring 2021)
The topic for the year will be arranged in consultation with interested students. Conducted as a seminar.

 

MUSIC 201B, Current Methods in Ethnomusicology*
Instructor: Richard Wolf; Time TBA (spring 2021)
Focuses on introduction to scholarly study of music with emphasis on the history and methodologies of ethnomusicology. Theories of music in culture, field methods, analytical and notational strategies, and critical tools for scholarship.

 

PHIL 192B, Buddhist Philosophers and their Critics
Instructor: Parimal Patil; Time TBA (spring 2021)
Buddhist theories in epistemology, metaphysics, and mind were contested by a broad range of philosophers, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist. In this course, we will read three short monographs in which the epistemology of perception, the metaphysics of momentariness, and the nature of consciousness are debated. We will situate these debates in their historical contexts and ask what we can learn from them today.


RELIGION 64, Krishna and Christ: Text, Practice, Person, Experience
Instructor: Francis Clooney; Time TBA (spring 2021)
For centuries, people have compared and contrasted Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christian faith, and Krishna, a supreme deity of Hindu tradition, both understood as loving, saving figures who descend into this world and are embodied here, gather followers and offer instructions, and are to be approached by love and devotion. Yet they are also figures in very different cultures, histories, social and intellectual contexts. What have been their positions in their faith traditions? Who do the faithful believe them to be? How are they similar and different? Can they be beneficially understood by those who do not believe in them? Course readings will deal with great scriptural texts, worship practices, devotions, images, and their destinies as universal figures. Larger questions related to the nature of God, of religions, and of theology itself will be raised. The course proceeds by key readings, discussed vigorously in class. Course requirements include brief weekly written responses to readings, and two 12-page course papers, but no final examination. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3070.


RELIGION 1707, Introduction to Buddhist Commentaries and Their Critical Interpretations
Instructor: Charles Hallisey; T, 12:00pm-3:00pm (spring 2021)
An introduction to the study of Buddhist commentaries, their textual and hermeneutic services, as well as their history and their roles in engagements with Buddhist scripturable texts. Examples of Buddhist commentaries this semester will be drawn from the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, South Asia and Tibet, China, and Japan. Jointly offered in the Divinity School as HDS 3779.


RELIGION 2710R, Buddhist Studies Seminar: The History of South Asian Buddhist Texts
Instructor: Janet Gyatso; Time TBA (spring 2021)
This is a seminar for doctoral students planning to take generals exams in Buddhist Studies as well as for advanced masters students in the field.  It will study the history of Sanskrit and Pali canonical and extra-canonical literature and their commentaries, translations, “canons,” and major schools of interpretation.  Foundational modern secondary scholarship will be considered as well, along with the state-of-the-art critical apparatus for Buddhist Studies. Prerequisite: Advanced background in Buddhist Studies and consent of instructor. Jointly offered with Divinity School as HDS 3888.

 

SAS 185, Writing Modern South Asia
Instructor: Sravanthi Kollu; Time TBA (spring 2021) 
In this course you will explore key texts of modern South Asian literature. The texts we will read span a period of roughly two centuries (1790-2016), four nations (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh), and global diasporic communities; yet they offer at best a limited sampling of the breadth and diversity of literary writing in/about South Asia. This course treats this breadth of material as a powerful challenge to us as readers. Hence, we will focus as much on our responses to, and expectations of, South Asian texts as readers as we will on the texts themselves. A key aim of the course is to help you cultivate reading and writing skills that equip you to work with diversity and contradiction in literary texts, skills that can be applied more broadly to other texts and textual representation. In keeping with this broader aim, the writing assignments through the semester will culminate at the end of the course in a longform essay you will write for a non-specialist audience. This essay will be your opportunity to historicize, compare, and reflect on two authors from the course that spoke to you.

 

SOC-STD 98SC, Caste, Race, and Democracy
Instructor: Hari Ramesh; Time TBA (spring 2021)
Drawing on the resources of social and intellectual history, political theory, and social science, this tutorial will explore the intimacies and differences between two forms of social differentiation: caste in India and race in the United States. We will focus, in particular, on the relationships between caste, race, and imperial power; the diagnoses of and forms of democratic resistance to caste and race subjugation that were articulated in the 19th and 20th centuries; and the place of contemporary social science in documenting both the persistence of oppression along caste and racial lines and the success of efforts to combat such oppression. This is a junior tutorial.

 

* ”  this course may be counted for concentration or secondary field credit after consultation with   
the Director of Undergraduate Studies