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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alka Kurian
BIS 466
Bothell Campus

Human Rights and Resistance

Examines how cultural practice interacts with the modern human rights movement, exploring how cultural production such as music, literature, theater, or the visual arts can promote the human rights regime as it resists challenges to justices and human dignity.

Class description

BIS 466: Human Rights and resistance – A Case of South Asia The course examines how cultural practices interact with the modern human rights movement, exploring the ways in which cultural production such as music, literature, theater, or the visual arts can promote the human rights regime as it resists challenges to justices and human dignity. The course will particularly focus on South Asia and will explore the ways in which cinema, one of the region’s most significant art forms, has been used as a tool for raising awareness about, promoting and protecting human rights. Class description The class will cover postcolonial South Asian films that deal with colonial, neocolonial, gendered, sexual, religious, ethnic, and class oppression. Examples will cover films made in and about Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The films selected will range from parallel cinema, crossover cinema, documentary films, experimental shorts and other media practices.

Student learning goals

1. The theory and practice of human rights with a specific focus on South Asia.

2. An understanding of the colonial and postcolonial forces of oppression, domination, and resistance in South Asia.

3. Why and how culture plays an important role in resisting oppression and forces of domination.

4. The politics of resistance of cinema and other media practices in South India.

5. The language and tools of analysis of cinema as an aesthetic construct.

6. Interdisciplinary skills in learning, researching, and writing.

General method of instruction

The class will use a combination of lectures, student-led discussions and seminars, group work, and film screenings.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites are necessary.

Class assignments and grading

Quizzes, midterm paper, group presentation

Quizzes (30%) Midterm paper (30%) Group presentation (30%) class participation and preparation (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.
Last Update by Alka Kurian
Date: 02/15/2013