South Asian Studies Program

South Asian Studies Courses

The South Asian Studies Program offers courses in a range of disciplines. See the Schedule of Classes for additional details and the University Bulletin for a complete list of SAS courses.

Required Course

SAS 100A: India and Pakistan: Understanding South Asia

NOTICE: ANTH 134A will replace this course for Fall 2024

Examines the making and unmaking of modern South Asia as a region, with particular focus on India and Pakistan as well as their connections to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Using perspectives from history, politics, anthropology, literature, and film, the course introduces students to key themes in the study of South Asia, such as colonialism and anti-colonial struggles, legacies of empire, caste critique and Dalit thought, gender and sexuality, religion, and popular culture. Usually offered every year. Usually offered every year.

Professors Ulka Anjaria, Harleen Singh, Jonathan Shapiro AnjariaAvinash Singh, and Brian Horton.

Core Courses

ANTH 134a South Asian Culture and Society [ nw ss ]
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

ENG 20a Bollywood: Popular Film, Genre, and Society [ hum nw ]
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 third year.

Ulka Anjaria

ENG 22a Filmi Fictions: From Page to Screen in India [ hum nw ]
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. Usually offered every third year.

Ulka Anjaria

ENG 127a The Novel in India [ hum nw ]
Survey of the novel and short story of the Indian subcontinent, their formal experiments in context of nationalism and postcolonial history. Authors may include Tagore, Anand, Manto, Desani, Narayan, Desai, Devi, Rushdie, Roy, Mistry, and Chaudhuri. Usually offered every second year.

Ulka Anjaria

ENG 152a Indian Love Stories [ hum nw ]
Introduces students to writings on love, desire and sexuality from ancient India to the present. Topics include ancient eroticism, love in Urdu poetry, Gandhi's sexual asceticism, colonial regulation of sexuality, Bollywood, queer fiction and more. Usually offered every third year.

Ulka Anjaria

HIST 66a History of South Asia (2500 BCE - 1971) [ nw ss ]
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

HIST 178b Britain and India: Connected Histories [ ss wi ]
Surveys the history of Britain and India from the rise of the East India Company to the present. Explores cultural and economic exchanges; shifts in power and phases of imperial rule; resistance and collaboration; nationalism; decolonization and partition; and postcolonial legacies. Usually offered every second year.

Hannah Muller

HIST 187b Unequal Histories: Caste, Religion, and Dissent in India [ nw ss ]
Examines the religious, political, and social dimensions of discrimination in India. In order to study caste, power, and representation, we will look at religious texts, historical debates, film, and literature from the Vedic Age to contemporary India. Usually offered every second year.

Avinash Singh

HIST/SOC 170b Gender and Sexuality in South Asia [ ss ]
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor.
Explores historical and contemporary debates about gender and sexuality in South Asia; revisits concepts of "woman," "sex," "femininity," "home," "family," "community," "nation," "reform," "protection," and "civilization" across the colonial and postcolonial periods. Usually offered every second year.

Hannah Muller and Gowri Vijayakumar

IGS 165A Revolution, Religion, and Terror: Postcolonial Histories

Examines religious conflict, revolutionary violence, and civil war in modern South Asia. It looks at Jihad, Maoist militancy, rising fundamentalism, and the recent refugee crisis.

Avinash Singh

IGS/SAS 160A:The Rise of India [nw ss]

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? Usually offered every second year.

Avinash Singh

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. Usually offered every second year.

 Anil M Mundra

SAS 101a South Asian Women Writers

Includes literature by South Asian women writers such as Amrita Pritam, Ismat Chugtai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kamila Shamsie, Tahmina Anam, and Chandini Lokuge. Some of the works were originally written in English, while others have been translated from the vernacular. Usually offered every second year.

Harleen Singh

SAS 140A: We Who Are at Home Everywhere: Narratives from the South Asian Diaspora [hum]

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 Love, Sex, and Country: Films from India

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

Elective Courses

AAPI/HIST 163A Asian American History

Explores the history of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States with a focus on their lived experiences and contributions to U.S. society. Course culminates in a final AAPI digital oral history project.

Yuri Doolan

FA 34A History of Asian Art

A selective survey of the art of the three major Asian areas: India, China, and Japan.

Aida Wong

HIST 179b India and the Superpowers (USA, USSR, and China): 1947 and Beyond [ nw ss ]
Examines the history of modern India through its relationships with the "superpowers," USA, USSR, and China. Covering the period between 1947-2018, the course analyses ideological, economic, foreign policy shifts and subcontinental conflict in a constantly changing geo-political scene. Usually offered every second year.

Avinash Singh

HS 236A International Health Systems and Development

Provides students with the framework to understand how health systems are organized and to understand what affects their performance. Students also will be able to describe key features of health systems; how health system performance is measured; and how lessons from other countries can be applied to their own countries. The course examines different health system frameworks, how to use these frameworks to ask health system questions, different aspects of health systems, how national health systems differ, and what measures are being implemented in different countries to improve their health system performance and eventually health outcomes. The course will also take a broader look at the relationships between health policy, economic policy and development policy, examining some of the main economic and development theories shaping global policies and also examine the international institutions and political dynamics in health policy making.

Diana Bowser

HSSP 102A Introduction to Global Health

A primer on major issues in health care in developing nations. Topics include the natural history of disease and levels of prevention; epidemiological transitions; health disparities; and determinants of health including culture, social context, and behavior. Also covers: infectious and chronic disease incidence and prevalence; the role of nutrition, education, reproductive trends, and poverty; demographic transition including aging and urbanization; the structure and financing of health systems; and the globalization of health.

Alice Noble

WMGS 135b Postcolonial Feminisms [ hum ]
Examines feminist theories, literature, and film from formerly colonized, Anglophone countries in South Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. It takes the shared path of decolonization and postcoloniality to discuss the development of feminist discourse and the diverse trajectories of gendered lives. Usually offered every third year.

Harleen Singh