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Fall Courses 2017

SAX 140 Introduction to South Asia Studies

Payal Banerjee and South Asia faculty
M 7:30 - 9:30 pm
The subcontinent of South Asia includes the modern nations India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives.  This course introduces students to the study of South Asia: the history of the region; its cultures and cultural productions; the economic, political and religious forces that shape South Asia; the intersections, cross-affiliations, and linkages among its different nations; and the cross-connections among South Asia, its diaspora, and 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. Meets second half of semester only. Graded S/U only. (E) 1 credit

REL/PHI 108 The Meaning of Life
Andy Rotman and Nalini Bhushan
MW 1:10 - 2:30 pm
This course asks the big question, “What is the Meaning of Life?” and explores a range of answers offered by philosophers and religious thinkers from a host of different traditions in different eras of human history. We will explore a variety of forms of philosophical and religious thinking and the ways in which philosophical and religious thinking can be directly relevant to our own lives. {H}{L} 4 credits

200-Level Courses

ANT 267 Self and Society in South Asia
Pinky Hota
MW 2:40 - 4 pm
This course introduces students to the culture, politics and everyday life of South Asia. Topics covered will include religion, community, nation, caste, gender and development, as well as some of the key conceptual problems in the study of South Asia, such as the colonial construction of social scientific knowledge, and debates over "tradition" and "modernity." In this way, we will address both the varieties in lived experience in the subcontinent, and the key scholarly, popular and political debates that have constituted the terms through which we understand South Asian culture. Along with ethnographies, we will study and discuss novels, historical analysis, primary historical texts and popular (Bollywood) and documentary film. {S} 4 credits

ECO 211 Economic Development
Vis Taraz
MWF 10 - 10:50 am
An overview of economic development theory and practice since the 1950s. Why have global economic inequalities widened? What economic policies have been implemented in the developing countries of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East in search of economic development, what theories underlie these policies, and what have been the consequences for economic welfare in these regions? Topics include trade policy (protectionism versus free trade), financial policy, industrial development strategies, formal and informal sector employment, women in development, international financial issues (lending, balance of payments deficits, the debt and financial crises), structural adjustment policies and the increasing globalization of production and finance. Prerequisites: ECO 150 and ECO 153. {S} 4 credits

MUS 220 Popular Music of the Islamic World
Margaret Sarkissian
TTh 3 - 4:50 pm
Music is a thorny issue in many Islamic societies. There is often tension between hardliners who believe that music has no place in Islam and thus try to prohibit it and those who tolerate it, albeit within well-defined parameters. The debate intensifies in the case of popular music. Despite this, there is an incredible variety of vibrant popular music traditions throughout the Islamic world. In this course, we engage with Islamic debates on popular music, explore music in a variety of cultures (e.g., Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Senegal and Turkey), and examine the ways they illuminate different themes (forms of Islam, issues of diaspora, gender considerations, musical diversity, etc.). No prerequisites, though MUS 101 is helpful. {A} {S} Credits: 4

SOC 236 Beyond Borders: The New Global Political Economy
Payal Banerjee
MWF 2:40 - 4pm
This course introduces students to the basic concepts and theories in global political economy. It covers the history of economic restructuring, global division of labor, development, North-South state relations, and modes of resistance from a transnational and feminist perspective. Issues central to migration, borders and security, health and the environment are central to the course. Prerequisite: SOC 101. Enrollment limited to 35. Credits: 4

300-Level Courses

ENG 391 Modern South Asian Writers in English
Ambreen Hai
T 1 - 3:30 pm
We study key texts in the diverse tradition of 20th- and 21st-century South Asian literature in English, from the early poet Sarojini Naidu to internationally acclaimed contemporary global and diasporic writers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal. Topics include: the postcolonial fashioning of identities; Independence and Partition; women’s interventions in nationalist discourses; the crafting of new English idioms; choices of genre and form; the challenges of historiography, trauma, memory; diaspora and the (re)making of "home;" life post-9/11 Islamophobia. Writers include: Anand, Narayan, Manto, Rushdie, Attia Hosain, Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kiran Desai, Naqvi, Adiga, Upadhyay. Supplementary readings on postcolonial theory and criticism. By permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 12. {L} Credits: 4

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

Leslie Jaffe
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 Interterm, 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. Enrollment limited to 5 students. 4 credits

Five College Courses Fall 2017

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. Course listings will be available shortly.

Amherst College

Hampshire College

Mount Holyoke College

UMass Amherst