South Asian Social Worlds
Study of a series of texts that introduce anthropological and critical approaches to South Asia's peoples and cultures while questioning the historical and political possibility of understanding such a diverse region.
Indian Democracy in Comparative Perspective
Introduction to the major dimensions of Indian democracy; comparison with the political experiences of other developing nations such as China, South Africa, Brazil, and Egypt. Topics include colonial legacies, identity politics, social movements, and social and human development.
SAST 259b/MUSI 357
Indian Music Theory and Practice: From Slumdog Millionaire to Ravi Shankar
In this course students will engage in both discussion about and practice in Indian music. Topics for discussion will include: history and theory of Indian music, improvisation, modern trends, gender, Bollywood, musical fusions, interactions between Indian and Western music cultures. Practical instruction will focus on Hindustani classical traditions. No previous experience in Indian classical music is necessary.
Introduction to major themes in Tibetan Buddhist thought and practice. Buddhist ethics, systems of monastic and ascetic life, ritual applications, sacred geography and pilgrimage, lay religion, and the status of Buddhism in Chinese-occupied Tibet and in the West.
Modern Literature in South Asia
Benjamin Conisbee Baer
What original forms and trajectories does modern literature take in the Indian subcontinent? Focusing on literary prose, this class examines topics of writing, secrets, and gender in 19th and 20th century fiction. We look at secret writings, representations of forbidden relationships, transgression, and intersections of the personal, the sexual, and the political as they relate to the tumultuous events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Writers from “British India,” the present-day states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as from the South Asian diaspora. All works studied in English translation or English original. There will be some discussion of translation in class, as well as selected readings of literary criticism and history.
SAST 373/ HSAR 463
Cross-Cultural Encounters in South Asian Art and History
This seminar explores the analytic of “difference” as it has shaped the interpretations of art, architecture, and history of early modern and colonial South Asia. It situates centrally how different ways of seeing objects and buildings and diverse conceptions of visuality and materiality in turn allow us to enter renewed debates on questions of discontinuities and continuities, assimilation, circulation, translation, resistance, iconoclasm, and, above all, the artistic agency of many anonymous makers within cross-cultural contexts in South Asia. Case studies will draw from the worlds of the Mughal, Rajput, Deccani, and Maratha kings, regional merchants, religious gurus, and East India Company and British imperial officers, which show dynamic varieties of artistic exchange and intertwined histories that mark the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century in the subcontinent. Focused analyses of paintings and works on paper in the collections of the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University Art Gallery, and Beinecke Library will be included.
SAST 325/HIST 318
Modern Indian History
This course examines the history of Modern India since 1800. We will concentrate on the impact of colonialism on the Indian subcontinent and on the formation of the modern South Asian States of India and Pakistan. The culture of colonialism, the nature of the colonial state and the emergence of nationalism are themes which are explored.
Asian Classics: Indian, China and Japan
Introduction to literary works that shaped the great civilizations of Asia. Focus on traditional literature from India, China, and Japan. Readings range from religious and philosophical texts to literature of the court, poetry, drama, and epics.
PLSC 424/SAST 440
Gandhi and the Politics of Nonviolence
A study of the theory and practice of nonviolent political action, as proposed and practiced by M. K. Gandhi. The origins and development of nonviolent politics in Gandhian thought and action; legacies and lessons for contemporary political life.
GLBL 211A/ECON 211A/SAST 278
Economic Performances and Challenges in India
India's transition from being one of the poorest countries in the world to having one of the fastest-growing economies. Economic reform processes, trade and policy implications, and changes within the agriculture, industry, and service sectors.
SAST 343/GLBL 319
Political Economy of Natural Disasters
Natural shocks pose particular threats to developing countries, such as those in South Asia and Africa. In this course, we will investigate the incentives of national governments to build capacity to reduce the risk of, prepare for, and respond to natural shocks and resulting disasters. We will also consider the role of international actors and local communities, all through examination of case studies, including the Indian Ocean tsunami, flooding in South Asia, and drought in West Africa.
ANTH 338/SAST 372/ FILM 329
Himalaya through Film and Text
An exploration of the Himalayan region through film and ethnography. Comparing visual and textual genres of storytelling and narration, we examine topics such as adventure, caste, education, gender, ritual, and violence by watching, analyzing, and critiquing selected texts. Films and readings are drawn from Bhutan, northern India, Nepal, and Tibet.
Diversity and Struggles for Equality in South Asia
This course is designed to offer an interpretive analysis of struggles for, and the politics of, equal citizenship in contemporary South Asia.
Readings in Jain and Buddhist Texts
An advanced course in which we read selections from the Pali Buddhist commentaries and selections from Jain Prakrit texts. Prerequisite: while no knowledge of Pali or Prakrit is required, students should have had at least two years of Sanskrit.
HSAR 381/SAST 264
Introduction to Islamic Art
This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of Islamic art, starting from the 7th century to the present. Despite orthodox polemics against figural representation, patrons and artists have celebrated the rich artistic practices that have given rise to the diverse cultures of the Islamic world – and continue to do so. Works studied include manuscript painting and portraiture, as well as the arts of calligraphy and ceramics, from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The class is supplemented by visits to the Yale University Art Gallery and the new Islamic Art galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
SAST 223/HIST 352
Reinventing Gender in Modern India
A study of changing gender norms and practices in India in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Widow immolation and remarriage, child marriage and the age of consent, arranged vs. love-based marriages, education and domestic roles, religious life, sex workers, female labor in mills and in agriculture, caste and tribes, gender behavior in political life.
SAST 273/HSAR 329
Place, Landscape and Travel in South Asia Art
This course examines how artists have explored ideas of topography, mapping, and traveling in South Asian visual culture. By focusing on the manifestations of place and landscape, it asks how one imagines their picture of and in the world from specific epistemological, ideological, and subjective points of view. Examples will include a wide variety of material ranging from Buddhist sculpted panels, pilgrimage maps and devotional manuscripts, Mughal paintings, posters of the Indian nation-state as a mother goddess, to contemporary art featuring fractured landscapes of Kashmir, as well as travel narratives and poetry, films, and fiction. The eclecticism of the juxtapositions aims to raise questions on the continuities and discontinuities between seeing and idealizing place, religious and secular mappings, modern and pre-modern, and western and non-western ideas of place-making. Regular study sessions will be held at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University Art Gallery, and Beinecke Library.
SAST 324/HIST 319/FILM 313
India on Film
To examine the history of India since 1800 through a medium of media and scholarly and non-scholarly literature. We will concentrate on the impact of colonialism on the Indian subcontinent and on the formation of the modern South Asian States of India and Pakistan through historically-based films. We will study the representation of Indian society and history in the booming Bollywood film industry.
SAST 326/ HIST 324J
Texts of Indian Modernity
Introduction to the works of modern Indian thinkers, writers, and politicians who shaped the contours of modernity in the subcontinent. Literary works, polemical debates, and cultural and political movements, including their influence on events in colonial and postcolonial India. Issues related to nation and nationalism, caste and gender, tradition and modernity, and the meanings of times past and present.
Each term prospective junior History majors should apply for departmental seminars for the following term using the online seminar preregistration site. Preregistration begins after midterm in the fall for seminars offered in the spring term, and after spring recess for seminars offered in the subsequent fall term. Accelerated students holding junior status must notify the undergraduate History administrator in 237 HGS, 432-1359, by October 12 in the fall and by March 22 in the spring in order to be eligible to preregister for the following term's seminars. All students who wish to preregister must declare their major beforehand.
In September and in January, application for admission should be made directly to the instructors of the seminars, who will admit students to remaining vacancies in their seminars. Priority is given to applications from juniors, then seniors, majoring in History, but applications are also accepted from qualified sophomores and from students majoring in other disciplines or programs.
Seminars on the history of the United States or Canada are numbered 100J to 199J; seminars on Britain and Europe are 200J to 299J; and seminars numbered 300J to 399J cover the rest of the world. Seminars numbered in the 400s address global topics; students must apply to the director of undergraduate studies in History to count a 400-level seminar toward a particular geographical distribution category.
Introduction to Bhakti Literature
Study of bhakti (devotional literature) in North India, beginning in the sixteenth century. Resistance to Brahmanical forms of social dominance; the role of linguistically based power; the development of vernacular languages and the national language of India.
SAST 461/LITR 156
Indian Texts and Contexts
Benjamin Conisbee Baer
We read early Indian texts from the earliest Sanskrit compositions (Vedic hymns) through selections from Upanishads, Puranas, Buddhist texts, the Epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), Sanskrit drama, and key texts on conduct, morality, ethics, and politics. The class focuses on social and historical context and the points of intersection between sacred texts and sites of social structure and social conflict. Centering on the questions of ritual and sacrifice, the class asks how they have become key figurative, political, and ethical resources in this complex tradition? What are karma and dharma? We aim to locate these terms and texts in the changing and dynamic social and political worlds of “early India” and we will examine how texts read their contexts and vice versa. Readings are selected from major landmarks of the field and intensively studied in class. All texts read in translation.
Gods and the Theater in India
Relations between the religious and the secular in Indian theater. A study of Sanskrit drama and religious plays on the life of the god Rama; readings of representative works from colonial and contemporary India. All readings in translation.
Buddhist Traditions of Mind and Meditation
This seminar will survey a range of Buddhist meditation practices from South Asia and Tibet in the context of traditional theories of mind, perception, and cognition. Readings will include both primary Buddhist canonical works and secondary scholarship on cognitive science and ritual practice.
RLST 184/SAST 358
Exploration of the religious and ideological interpretations of this epic of ancient India as manifested in performance and in written texts. Emphasis on the religious and historical contexts from which the texts emerged.
RLST 137/SAST 263
Introduction to Hinduism
A broad introduction to classical Hinduism; focus on close reading of primary texts in translation. Readings include selections from the Rig Veda, Brahmanas, epics, puranas, and medieval devotional poetry.
Gandhi and Hinduism
Gandhi's notion of Hinduism and his religious and political ideas about truth, nonviolence, fasting, and ashram. New connotations that Gandhi gave concepts drawn from a traditional Indic repertoire.
PLSC181/EP&E 425/SAST 342
South Asia in World Politics
Relations of the countries of South Asia - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka - with each other and with the rest of the world. Broad issues of world politics, including problems of development and security that confront developing countries.
EVST 346/ SAST 378
From Dongguan to Delhi: Urbanization and the Environment in China and India
This course will explore contemporary urbanization processes in China and India with a focus on environmental challenges and sustainable development. Six themes related to urbanization and the environment will be explored in the course: 1) land-use change 2) energy and climate change, 3) food and consumption patterns, 4) manufacturing and industrial production, 5) technology and innovation, and 6) culture and lifestyles. Students will explore these themes and be introduced to a suite of conceptual and analytical tools, including satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS), to complete semester-long projects that examine these issues in cities in China and India.
SAST419/ANTH463/ER&M 366 (ANTH 663/SAST 619)
Ethnicity, Indigeneity, Mobility
Classical literature on ethnicity in conversation with more recent work on indigeneity and mobility. We consider the relationships between place, belonging and citizenship in shaping contemporary identity practices and discourses. Readings are primarily ethnographic, with a focus on South Asia, but including material from Latin America, Native North America, Southeast and East Asia, Australia/New Zealand, and Africa.
SAST 341b/PLSC 442
Development in South Asia
This course introduces students to the complex issues surrounding questions of political and economic "development" in South Asia, a region that is home to a quarter of the world's population, and the largest number of its poor. Not surprisingly, the successes and failures of modernization in South Asia have informed and been informed by intellectual trends and their derivative policy prescriptions in development studies. To understand this reciprocal relationship, this course intersperses readings on the foundational perspectives on development and the policies they yielded with empirical treatments of the experiences of South Asian countries in the postcolonial era.
ANTH 353/SAST 369
Himalayan Languages & Cultures
Exploration of social, linguistic and political aspects of the Himalayan region. Issues include classifications of communities and their languages; census taking and other state enumeration projects; the crisis of endangered oral cultures and speech forms; the creation and adoption of writing systems and the challenges of developing mother tongue literacy materials. Case studies are drawn from Bhutan, northern India, Nepal and Tibet.
WGSS449/ SAST 449
Fictions of Indian Women
An exploration of Indian womanhood through novels and short stories by Indian women. Focus on postindependence women's writings in English in India, and on concepts of nation, home, and identity.
HSAR 383A/ SAST 256A
The Art of India, c. 300 BC-1650 AD
Tamara L. Sears
Description: Introduction to the art and architectural history of the Indian subcontinent between c. 300 BC and 1650 AD. The course traces the development of early Buddhist and Jain art, the development of Hindu temples and icons, and the efflorescence of Islamic visual culture under the Mughal Empire.
Introductory Bengali I (Fall)
A comprehensive approach to learning all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. At the completion of the two-term sequence students are able to read and write in Bengali, and to converse in formal and informal situations.
Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Cornell University. Credit only on completion of BNGL 120.
Introductory Bengali II (Spring)
Continuation of BNGL 120. Course taught through distance learning using videoconferencing technology from Cornell University.
HNDI 110/HNDI 510
Elementary Hindi I (Fall)
Seema Khurana, Swapna Sharma
(1) M-F 10.30-11.20
(2) M-F, 1.30-2.20
An in-depth introduction to modern Hindi, including the Devanagari script. A combination of graded texts, written assignments, audiovisual material, and computer-based exercises provides cultural insights and increases proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Hindi. Emphasis on spontaneous self-expression in the language. No prior background in Hindi assumed. Credit only on completion of HNDI 120.
HNDI 120/HNDI 520:
Elementary Hindi II (Spring)
Seema Khurana, Swapna Sharma
(1) M-F 10.30-11.20
(2) M-F 1.30-2.20
Continuation of Hindi 110. After Hindi 110 or equivalent.
HNDI 130/HNDI 530
Intermediate Hindi I (Fall)
Seema Khurana, Swapna Sharma
(1) MWF 2.30-3.20, T 9.25-10.15, Th 9.25-10.15
(2) M-F 11.35-12.25
The first half of a two-term sequence designed to develop proficiency in the four language skills. Extensive use of cultural documents including feature films, radio broadcasts, and literary and nonliterary texts to increase proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Hindi. Focus on cultural nuances and Hindi literary traditions. Emphasis on spontaneous self-expression in the language. After HNDI 120 or equivalent.
Intermediate Hindi II (Spring)
Seema Khurana, Swapna Sharma
(1) MWF 2.30-3.20, TTh 11.35-12.25
Continuation of HNDI 130. After HNDI 130 or equivalent.
Accelerated Hindi I (Fall)
A fast-paced course designed for students who are able to understand basic conversational Hindi but who have minimal or no literacy skills. Introduction to the Devanagari script; development of listening and speaking skills; vocabulary enrichment; attention to sociocultural rules that affect language use. Students learn to read simple texts and to converse on a variety of everyday personal and social topics.
HNDI 142/HNDI 542
Accelerated Hindi II (Spring)
Continuation of HNDI 132. Development of increased proficiency in the four language skills. Focus on reading and higher language functions such as narration, description, and comparison. Reading strategies for parsing paragraph-length sentences in Hindi newspapers. Discussion of political, social, and cultural dimensions of Hindi culture as well as contemporary global issues.
Advanced Hindi (Fall)
An advanced language course aimed at enabling students to engage in fluent discourse in Hindi and to achieve a comprehensive knowledge of formal grammar. Introduction to a variety of styles and levels of discourse and usage. Emphasis on the written language, with readings on general topics from newspapers, books, and magazines.
HNDI 198/HNDI 598
Advanced Tutorial (Fall & Spring)
Seema Khurana, Swapna Sharma
For students with advanced Hindi language skills who wish to engage in concentrated reading and research on material not otherwise offered by the department. Work must be supervised by an adviser and must terminate in a term paper or the equivalent. Permission to enroll requires submission of a detailed project proposal and its approval by the language studies coordinator.
Prerequisite: HNDI 150 or equivalent.
LING 115/LING 515/SKRT 110/SKRT 51
Introductory Sanskrit I (Fall)
An introduction to Sanskrit language and grammar. Focus on learning to read and translate basic Sanskrit sentences in Devanagari script. No prior background in Sanskrit assumed.
LING 125/SKRT 120/LING 525/SKRT 520
Introductory Sanskrit II (Spring)
Continuation of SKRT 110. Focus on the basics of Sanskrit grammar; readings from classical Sanskrit texts written in Devanagari script. After SKRT 110.
LING 138/LING 538/SKRT 530/SKRT 130
Intermediate Sanskrit I (Fall)
The first half of a two-term sequence aimed at helping students develop the skills necessary to read texts written in Sanskrit. Readings include selections from the Hitopadesa, Kathasaritsagara, Mahabharata, and Bhagavadgita. After SKRT 120 or equivalent.
LING 148/LING 548/SKRT 140/SKRT 540
Intermediate Sanskrit II (Spring)
Continuation of SKRT 130, focusing on Sanskrit literature from the kavya genre. Readings include selections from the Jatakamala of Aryasura and the opening verses of Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava. After SKRT 130 or equivalent.
Advanced Sanskrit Dharmasastra (Fall)
Introduction to Sanskrit commentarial literature, particularly to Dharmasastra, an explication and analysis of dharma (law or duty). Discussion of normative rules of human behavior; historical traditions of writing on the Indian subcontinent. Prerequisite: SKRT 140 or equivalent.