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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Heidi R. Pauwels
ASIAN 203
Seattle Campus

Literature and Culture of Ancient and Classical India

Introduction to ancient and classical Indian literature in its cultural context. Texts in English translation.

Class description

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

Familiarity 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

Recommended preparation

no prerequisites

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%)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Heidi R. Pauwels
Date: 11/01/2013