The South Asian Studies Program offers courses in a range of disciplines. See the Registrar's page for current course timings.

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*NEW SPRING COURSE* SAS 155b Cinema and Society: History, Film and Visual Culture in Pakistan

Explores the rise, fall and reprise of the Pakistani film industry against a backdrop of the country's tumultuous past and present. Films, throughout, will be studied alongside history as complex works of art; as mirrors and construction-sites of national identity; as discourses generating and disciplining sexualities and genders; as expressions of desire and disavowal, anxiety and transgression. The course will enhance students' knowledge of Pakistan and its film history; of cinema as a cultural form and mode of critical and artistic expression; and of cinema culture and cinephilia as part of Pakistan's visual and media landscape. Ali Ahmad. Spring 2014.

*NEW SPRING COURSE* SAS 164b Pakistan: History, State and Society

An introduction to the unsettled history and contemporary predicament of Pakistan. Themes examined include Muslim nationalism in South Asia; contending perspectives on the country's origins; the complex relationship between US imperialism and the postcolonial state; controversies associated with the so-called War on Terror; the escalation of sectarian attacks against minorities; and progressive public discourse and activism. The course asks: Is Pakistan a democracy in substantive terms? Will it survive, and what are the implications of this survival for its people and those living in neighboring countries? It concludes with a discussion of why the study of Pakistan has particular importance for the United States, which has historically invested heavily in fighting communism and now terrorism in South Asia and beyond. Through the study of primary and secondary texts, news media, school textbooks and video clips, we will pay special attention to history as it has unfolded against official discourse and in everyday lives. Ali Ahmad. Spring 2014.

SAS 150b Indian Film: The Three-Hour Dream

A study of Hindi films made in India since 1947 with a few notable exceptions from regional film, as well as some recent films made in English. Students will read Hindi films as texts/narratives of the nation to probe the occurrence of cultural, religious, historical, political, and social themes. Usually offered every third year. Harleen Singh. Spring 2014.

SAS 100a Introduction to South Asia

An exploration of the history, societies, cultures, religions, and literature of South Asia, focusing on India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Uses perspectives from history, anthropology, literature, and film to examine past and contemporary life in South Asia. Usually offered every year. Harleen Singh. Fall 2013.

ENG 127a The Novel in India

Provides the theoretical and historical tools to study the Indian novel from some of its earliest instances in the late nineteenth century to its newest examples in the twenty-first. We will approach the novel both thematically (in terms of colonialism, nationalism, etc.) as well as formally (i.e., why a novel? what does the novel do that other genres cannot?) in order to highlight the uniqueness and continuities of the genre in the Indian context. Authors include Aravind Adiga, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai and others. Ulka Anjaria. Fall 2013.

HIST 66a History of South Asia (2500 BCE-1971)

Introduces South Asian history from the earliest civilizations to the independence of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Surveys the formation of religious traditions, the establishment of kingdoms and empires, colonialism and its consequences, and post-independence political and economic development. Usually offered every second year. Govind Sreenivasan. Fall 2013.

*NEW SPRING COURSE* POL 132a Religions, Nationalism, and Violence in Comparative Perspective

Examines the phenomenon of religious nationalism in South Asia with focus on violent conflict in Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan. Theoretical analysis of the nature of religious mobilization, the politics of holy space, and the logic of religious violence. Matthew Isaacs. Spring 2014.


ANTH 134a South Asian Culture and Society

May be repeated for credit if taught by different instructors.
Examines the diversity and richness of the cultures and societies of South Asia, with a focus on India. Concentrates on the lived experiences of class, caste, gender, religion, politics, and region in people's everyday lives. Usually offered every third year. Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria or Sarah Lamb

IGS/SAS 160a The Rise of India

Formerly offered as IGS 150a.
Examines how India rose to become a world power. With one-seventh of the world's population and a booming economy, India now shapes all global debates on trade, counter-terrorism and the environment. How will it use its new influence? Staff

REL/SAS 152a Introduction to Hinduism

Introduces Hindu practice and thought. Explores broadly the variety of forms, practices, and philosophies that have been developing from the time of the Vedas (ca. 1500 BCE) up to present day popular Hinduism practiced in both urban and rural India. Examines the relations between Hindu religion and its wider cultural, social, and political contexts, relations between the Hindu majority of India and minority traditions, and questions of Hindu identity both in India and abroad. Staff

REL/SAS 162b Religions in South Asia: India, Pakistan and Beyond

Examines religious traditions of South Asia, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism, from the perspectives of scriptural texts, art, philosophy, history, anthropology and film. Explores the central ideas and practices of the region's religious traditions, as well as the role of religion in South Asian society, politics and culture. Staff

SAS 110b South Asian Postcolonial Writers

Examines the postcolonial novel written in English within the shared history of colonialism, specifically British imperialism, for South Asia. Writers include R.K. Narayan, Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Mohsin Hamid, Romesh Gunesekera and Daniyal Mueenudin. Usually offered every second year. Harleen Singh

SAS 130a Film and Fiction of Crisis

Examines novels and films as a response to some pivotal crisis in South Asia: Independence and Partition, Communal Riots, Insurgency and Terrorism. We will read and analyze texts from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in an effort to examine how these moments of crisis have affected literary and cinematic form while also paying close attention to how they contest or support the narrative of the unified nation. Usually offered every third year. Harleen Singh

SAS 140a We Who Are at Home Everywhere: Narratives from the South Asian Diaspora

Looks at narratives from various locations of the South Asian Diaspora, while paying close attention to the emergence of an immigrant South Asian public culture. Examines novels, poetry, short stories, film, and music in order to further an understanding of South Asian immigrant culture. Usually offered every third year. Harleen Singh

SAS 150b Indian Film: The Three-Hour Dream

A study of Hindi films made in India since 1947 with a few notable exceptions from regional film, as well as some recent films made in English. Students will read Hindi films as texts/narratives of the nation to probe the occurrence of cultural, religious, historical, political, and social themes. Usually offered every third year. Harleen Singh

SAS 170b South Asia in the Colonial Archive

Looks at colonial constructions of gender and race through a historical and literary investigation of British colonialism in South Asia. Examines intersections and constructions of gender, race, class, and sexuality in literature, public culture, and film within the parameters of British colonialism. Usually offered every third year. Harleen Singh

ENG 20a Bollywood: Popular Film, Genre, and Society

An introduction to popular Hindi cinema through a survey of the most important Bollywood films from the 1950s until today. Topics include melodrama, song and dance, love and sex, stardom, nationalism, religion, diasporic migration, and globalization. Usually offered every second year. Ulka Anjaria

ENG 22a Filmi Fictions: From Page to Screen in India

An introduction to filmic adaptations of Indian novels from Bollywood, Indian art cinema, and Hollywood. Readings include novels as well as theoretical approaches to adaptation. Films include Slumdog Millionaire, Pather Panchali, Devdas, Guide, Umrao Jaan, and others. Ulka Anjaria

ENG 117a Salman Rushdie

Explores Salman Rushdie's fiction as a sustained engagement with aesthetic problems created by an emerging global multiculture. Examines his oeuvre through a variety of political and cultural frameworks, particularly his evolving relationships to nationalism, hybridity, migration, and cosmopolitanism. Staff

REL 151a The Buddha: His Life and Teachings

Few human beings have had as much impact on the world as Siddhartha Gotama Shakyamuni, known to us as Buddha. This course explores his life and teachings as reflected in early Buddhist literature and Western scholarship. Usually offered every year. Staff