Heidi R. Pauwels
Introduction to ancient and classical Indian literature in its cultural context. Texts in English translation.
The topic of this course is the literature and culture of ancient and classical India (South Asia). It covers the period from the middle of the second millennium BCE. through the end of the first millennium CE. During the course some of the most influential works of Indian tradition and world civilization will be read and discussed in their cultural context, with an eye especially to how these texts are interpreted and used in contemporary religion and politics. These include the Rigveda, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Bhagavadgita, poetic and dramatic works by Kalidasa, the Pancatantra, and early South Indian lyric poetry, in particular the Cilappatikaram. Although the works covered in the course were originally composed in Sanskrit or Tamil, they will be read in English translation. No knowledge of an Indian language is presupposed.
Student learning goals
Familiairty with Classical Indian literature and its context
Understand Indian aesthetics
Read and interpret texts with reference also to contemporary usage
compose creative writing in different styles
General method of instruction
Lecture Classical readings Discussion sections Screening of contemporary film versions of texts
Class assignments and grading
6 weekly take-home discussion questions 1 creative writing project 1 final paper class and discussion participation
Creative writing/pefromance project (20%) Final paper (40%) Weekly question (30%) Class and discussion participation (10%)