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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

K. Sivaramakrishnan
ANTH 412
Seattle Campus

South Asian Social Structure

Caste class, and community in modern India. Transitions from colonial typology to analysis of social change, diversity, stability, and caste hierarchy in rural society. Current debates on class and community in Indian society, rural and urban, explored through themes of identity, structure, and mobility. Prerequisite: one 200-level ANTH course. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 412.

Class description

One of the paradoxes of Indian modernization in the last two centuries has been the multiplication and reinvention of social differences in the transition from colonialism to democracy. In this course we shall explore this paradox and understand the cultural-historical processes at work in the production of caste, class, and community in modern Indian society. This course will provide a historical perspective on the formation of social categories in different periods of modern state formation. It will examine the approaches developed in social history and cultural anthropology, in the recent past, to the study of social stratification and social change in India. With the help of readings, guest speakers, and films students will be invited to explore the contemporary salience of abiding forms of social distinction and differentiation in Indian society. Case studies will illuminate village life, ethnic and religious conflict, caste-based social movements, and the struggles over national development.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course is organized as a combination of lectures and discussion based on assigned readings, films and small group projects. Every student will be asked to work with team-mates to lead the discussions once during the quarter by preparing and making a brief presentation based on a group assignment. The instructional material will include films and guest lecturers for specific topics.

Recommended preparation

All students will be expected to prepare for the class by carefully reading the assigned material for each session. Active participation and continuous reading are the most important inputs required from students.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be given oral and written assignments. They will make one class presentation, participate in e-discussion and take two take-home examinations - midterm and final - that will require short essays in response to circulated questions.

Participation including the class presentation will carry 30% of the grade. The midterm exam will count for 30% and the final exam 40% of the course grade.


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 K. Sivaramakrishnan
Date: 10/06/2000