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South Asia Concentration

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Fall Courses 2014

SAX 140 South Asia: An Introduction

Ambreen Hai and South Asia faculty
M 7:30 - 9 pm

This course introduces students to the study of South Asia, the history of the region, the cultures and cultural productions of South Asia, and the economic, political and religious forces that shape South Asia as well as the impact of South Asia and its diaspora on the contemporary world. It is the gateway course to the South Asia concentration and is required for all concentrators. It is co-taught by all of the Smith faculty associated with the South Asia concentration. Offered first half of the semester only. Graded S/U only. (E) 1 credit

SAX 400 Special Studies in the South Asia Concentration
South Asia faculty

Admission by permission of the director of the South Asia concentration. Normally, enrollment limited to South Asia concentrators only. 1 to 4 credits

100-Level Courses

FYS 108 Curry: Gender, Race, Sexuality and Empire

Elisabeth Armstrong (Study of Women and Gender)
MW 11 am - 12:10 pm

As one early currency in the global trade of food, the spices in curry have sustained empires and built hybrid cultures. The circulation of food and food cultures has shaped normative gender and sexual relations and influenced how we racialize work. In South Asia, environmental questions about how to cultivate foods sustainably and how to distribute food equitably are vital components of the food security movement. In this course, we will study histories of curry in Empire, watch comedy sketches, read novels and investigate social movements around agriculture and food allocation in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students. {S/WI} 4 credits

FYS 153 The Bollywood Matinee: Gender, Nation, and Globalization through the Lens of Popular Indian Cinema

Payal Banerjee (Sociology)
MW 2:40 - 4 pm

This course will engage the world of popular Indian cinema, Bollywood and beyond. We will integrate scholarly articles on the subject, lectures, in-depth discussions, and of course, film screenings to explore the history and political economy of India and South Asia. Students will analyze how this vital cultural form deals with the politics of gender, class, caste, religion, and Indian nationalism. Our discussions will simultaneously focus on the role of globalization, migration, and the cultural significance of Indian characters on international media, e.g., Raj in the popular American sit-com The Big Bang Theory. Students are expected to engage with the readings, bring their reflections, and actively participate in class discussions. Enrollment limited to 16 first-year students. {WI} 4 credits

200-Level Courses

ENG 241 The Empire Writes Back: Postcolonial Literature

Ambreen Hai (English Language and Literature)
MW 1:10 - 2:30 pm

An introduction to Anglophone fiction, poetry, drama and film from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia in the aftermath of the British empire. Concerns include: the cultural work of writers as they respond to histories of colonial dominance; their ambivalence towards English linguistic, literary and cultural legacies; the ways literature can (re)construct national identities and histories, and explore assumptions of race, gender, class and sexuality; the distinctiveness of women writers and their modes of contesting cultural and colonial ideologies; global diasporas, migration and U.S. imperialism. Probable writers: Achebe, Soyinka, Ngugi, Aidoo, Dangarembga, Naipaul, Walcott, Cliff, Rushdie, Kureishi, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Meera Syal, and some theoretical essays. {L} 4 credits

REL 280 South Asian Visual Culture

Andy Rotman (Religion)
MW 2:40 - 4 pm

How does one make sense of what one sees in South Asia? What is the visual logic behind the production and consumption of images, advertising, and film? This course considers the visual world of South Asia, focusing in particular on the religious dimensions of visuality. Topics include the divine gaze in Hindu and Buddhist contexts, the role of god-posters in religious ritual and political struggle, the printed image as contested site for visualizing the nation, and the social significance of clothing as well as commercial films. {H} 4 credits

REL 282 Violence and Non-Violence in the Religious Traditions of South Asia

Andy Rotman (Religion)
MW 1:10 - 2:30 pm

How is violence legitimized and what is its legacy for both perpetrator and victim? When are war and sacrifice not murder? What are the political implications of a nonviolent morality? This course considers the rhetoric and phenomena of violence and non-violence in a variety of religious traditions in South Asia, both modern and premodern. Particular emphasis is placed on the ethical and social consequences of these practices, and the politics of the discourse that surrounds them. Texts and films concerning Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Islam. {H} 4 credits

300-Level Courses

ENG 319 South Asians in Britain and America

Ambreen Hai
Th 1 - 2:50 pm

This seminar will compare the literary and cultural consequences of two recent waves of migration of South Asian peoples: post-World War Two migrations of "skilled/unskilled” labor to Britain; and the post-1965 migrations to North America. Focusing on literature (and some film) that records, reflects on, and seeks to intervene in the cultural and psychological effects of such profound shifts, we will also read some interdisciplinary materials to investigate causes and consequences of migration and diaspora in their historical, political and economic contexts, with attention to questions of gender, nationhood, globalization, community, identity, religious fundamentalism and assimilation. Writers and filmmakers probably include Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Meera Syal, Jhumpa Lahiri, Monica Ali, Kiran Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, Chitra Divakaruni, Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair. {L} 4 credits

IDP 320 Seminar on Global Learning: Women’s Health of Tibetan Refugees in India

Leslie Jaffe (Interdepartmental)
T 7:30 - 9 pm

The purpose of this seminar is to study women's health and cultural issues within India, with a focus on Tibetan refugees, and then apply the knowledge experientially. During J-term, the students will travel to India and deliver workshops on reproductive health topics to young Tibetan women living at the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath where they will be further educated in Tibetan medicine. The seminar will be by permission of the instructor with interested students required to write an essay explaining their interest and how the seminar furthers their educational goals. Attendance at a seminar infor session is required to be eligible to apply. Info sessions will be held at Health Services on April 1 and April 2 at 5 pm. Please email Eva Peters if you plan to attend a session as pizza will be served. Enrollment limited to 5 students. 4 credits

Five College Courses Fall 2014

There are also many South Asia-related courses offered throughout the Five Colleges. You can use the Five College Course Guide to find courses with a South Asia focus.

Amherst College
ANTH 255/ASLC 255 Public Culture in South Asia
(Nusrat Chowdhury) MW 3-4:20 p.m.
ARHA 381/ASLC 381 Art of the Talisman (Yael Rice) W 2-4:30 p.m
ASLC 452/FAMS 322 Feminist Cinema (Krupa Shandilya) T 2:30-5 p.m.

Hampshire College
HACU 198 Asian Religious Traditions
(Connie Kassor) MW 1 - 2:20 pm
HACU 297 Yoga
(Alan Hodder) MW 10:30 - 11:50 am

Mount Holyoke College

ARTH 290BC Bollywood Cinema (Ajay Sinha) TTh 8:35 - 9:50 am, W 7 -10 pm
ASIAN 211
Modern Indian/South Asian Writers (Indira Peterson) TTh 2:40 - 3:55 p.m.
ASIAN 254 India's Epics (Indira Peterson) MW 1:15 - 2:30 pm
HIST 301ND The Indian Ocean World (Instructor TBA) W 1:15-4:05 pm

UMass Amherst
HIST 250
Introduction to South Asian History and Culture (Priyanka Srivastava) TTh 11:30 am-12:45 pm
HIST 392
Globalization: Indian Ocean History (Johan Mathew) TTh 10-11:15 am
HIST 397
Gandhi: Myth, Perpective and Politics (Priyanka Srivastava) TTh 2:30-3:45 pm

Interterm Course 2015

BUX 253J Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy and Hermeneutics
Constance Kassor
This intensive course is taught at the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India as part of the Hampshire/Five College in India program. Students take daily classes, taught by eminent Tibetan scholars, in Buddhist philosophy, Indo-Tibetan hermeneutics and Tibetan history and culture, and they attend regular discussion sessions as well as incidental lectures on topics including Tibetan art history and iconography, Tibetan astrology and medicine and Tibetan politics. Students also visit important Buddhist historical sites and explore Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Each student is paired with a Tibetan student "buddy" to get an inside view of Tibetan culture. Enrollment limited to 15, and requires application and acceptance by the H/5CIP. Pay attention to calls for early application. Deadlines fall mid-October. No prerequisites. {H}{M}{S} 3 credits