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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Heidi R. Pauwels
ASIAN 206
Seattle Campus

Literature and Culture of South Asia from Tradition to Modernity

Introduction to medieval and modern South Asian literature in its cultural context. Texts in English translation.

Class description

Students will read selections from medieval and modern South Asian literature in translation. The class has its focus on understanding the texts in their South Asian context. The first half of the course is devoted to all-time South Asian "classics", still sung and performed today, with selections from famous medieval Hindu devotional or Bhakti poetry originally in North Indian vernaculars, and from Goddess poetry originally in Bengali. In addition, there will be a section on Islamic-influenced Urdu literature. The second part of the class will concentrate on secular literature of the last century, with selections from Bengali, Hindi-Urdu, Marathi, and English novels and short stories. We will read around the themes of "the independence movement" with focus on women, "partition and communalism", and issues of "caste and untouchability". Finally, we will read the Booker Prize 1997 winning novel by Arundhati Roy.

Student learning goals

basic understanding of North Indian literature in cultural context

analysis of literary text according to Indian aesthetics

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion

Recommended preparation

Asian 203 or equivalent

Class assignments and grading

All students will lead one discussion session and will hand in a written preparation beforehand and a reflection on the discussion afterwards. Weekly take-home exams: for each discussion section, students will hand in hand-written answer to discussion questions. These questions are intended to help think about the literature students read. Students are allowed to work in groups, but each has to hand in his/her own hand-written weekly exam. Students can improve on these exams and submit them as part of a final portfolio, which also includes their final paper and their discussion preparation and reflection summary.

Weekly take-home question sheet (25%) Final paper (30%) Final portfolio (25%) Leading iscussion session (10%) Class participation and discussion contribution (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: 12/28/2009