SYLLABUS

**For additional bibliographic information, see the List of Readings**

1. Thurs. Sept. 7. Gender, culture, and literature in South Asia

No preparatory reading.

Class lecture: Introduction to the course. The feminine in the Vedas, poems of Buddhist nuns (Class handout of Vedic hymns and Therigatha poems). Michelle Rosaldo's "Women, Culture, and Society: A theoretical Overview" and Sherry Ortner's "Is Female to male as nature is to culture?" in M. Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere, eds., Woman, Culture and Society (Stanford, 1974) , remain classic essays on issues relating to the social and cultural constructions of gender, our focus in this course.

2. Tue. Sept. 12. Good wives and bad women in the Hindu epic Ramayana: Women's versions of the epic.

The Ramayana of Valmiki: Synopsis, from P. Richman, ed., Many Ramayanas, and excerpts from Swami Venkatesananda, The Concise Ramayana of Valmiki. V.Narayana Rao, "A Ramayana of their own"

* Begin reading Susan Wadley's essay, "Women and the Hindu Tradition". This will serve as background for the main readings on Hindu women in ancient and medieval texts.

Required film: * Before September 19, view the film Dadi's family. This 1-hour documentary on peasant women in Haryana will be shown on Sept. 12 and 13.

3. Thurs. Sept. 14. Chaste and Wrathful epic heroines: Draupadi, Savitri and Kannaki .

C.V. Narasimhan, Mahabharata, "Sabha parvan"; "The Dicing", from J.A.B.van Buitenen, Mahabharata, vol. 2, 'Savitri', from Coomaraswamy, Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists, and G.Hart, 'The role of sacred power' (Kannaki).

4. Tue. Sept. 19 Rural women's perspectives on family, kinship and sexuality

Gloria Raheja and Ann Gold, Listen to the Heron's Words, Chapters 1 and 2 'Gender representation' and 'Sexuality.. and erotic imagination"

Discuss Dadi and her family along with these readings from Heron's Words.

*Required film: Before 9/26, view Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, a classic film about women and children in a village family in Bengal. Shown 9/19

5. Thurs. Sept.21 Women speak, women sing, in north Indian villages

Raheja and Gold, Heron's Words, chapters 3 and 4. ("Irony and ambiguity", omitting pp. 106 -120, and "Subversion")

6. Tue. Sept. 26. A woman story-teller and tales about women

Raheja and Gold, Heron's Words, chapter 6, 'A storyteller's story'.
Domestic Strife', tales from Folktales of India, B.Beck, et al,.eds.

* Required Film Before October 3, View Satyajit Ray's Devi (the Goddess), a feature film about the dilemma of a young woman who is worshipped as a goddess. Shown 9/26.

7. Thurs. Sept. 28. Women's rites, Women's Art, and Power; the image of the Sati;

O.Lewis, "The Festival Cycle" , Stella Kramrisch, "The art ritual of women", I. Julia Leslie, "Suttee or Sati: Victim or Victor".

8. Tue. October 3. Narratives of Devi, the Goddess; Shakti and her many forms

C.Dimmitt and J.A.B. van Buitenen, "The Goddess" (introduction). David Kinsley, "Durga". L.Nathan and C. Seely, 'Poems on Kali by Ramaprasad Sen', and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, "Hail to the mother (Bande mataram)".

9. Thurs. October 5. Women in Muslim families; the insitution of Purdah.

Ismat Chughtai, 'The Wedding Shroud' and 'Choti Apa'(from The Quilt and Other Stories, 1994, trans. Naqvi and Hamid) (Urdu short stories).

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, "Purdah Observed" from The Secluded Ones.

Hanna Papanek, "Afterword: Caging the Lion".

By e-mail, please submit a topic for your first 8 -10-page paper, a paragraph outlining the goals of the paper, and a list of references (using material assigned for classes is a good beginning), to reach me BY Thursday, October 5. I will respond with comments and suggestions. The paper is due on Friday, October 27.

Mid-semester Break: Sat. 10/7 -Tue. 10/10/2000

10. Thurs, Oct. 12. Women and the erotic: Sanskrit and Tamil love poems.

"Nineteen Poems from a Classical Anthology", translations of Sanskrit erotic poems by D.H.H.Ingalls, and classical Tamil love poems from A.K.Ramanujan, The Interior Landscape.

11. Tue. Oct. 17. The courtly Nayika (heroine) in painting and poetry: Kalidasa's Sakuntala and the Radha-Krishna narrative

"Sakuntala and the Ring of Recollection" of Kalidasa, Act 1 , trans. Barbara Miller. Radha-Krishna songs from the Gitagovinda

Introductions to Bhakti poetry and Bengali Vaisnava poets (Indira Peterson)

"Bengali Vaisnava Poems" from E.C. Dimock and D. Levertov, In Praise of Krishna.

12. Thurs. Oct. 19 Artful Women: Courtesans,temple dancers , actresses

Selections from: Mirza.Ruswa's Umrao Jan Ada, translated by David Matthews;

S.Kersenboom, 'The traditional repertoire of the Tiruttani Dancers" and Anne-Marie Gaston, "Dance and the Hindu woman"; and Binodini Dasi, "My Story".

13. Tue. October 24. Shattering roles: Mira and Mahadeviyakka as poets and saints

I.Peterson, biographical sketches of Mirabai and Mahadeviyakka. "Poems of Mirabai", From J.S.Hawley and M.Juergensmeyer, Songs of the Saints of India. Songs of Mahadevi from A.K.Ramanujan, Speaking of Siva.

14. Thurs. Oct. 26. New images: 'Bollywood', Television and Beauty contests

Madhu Kishwar, "When India missed the universe", Manushi. 88, 1995.

*Required Film: By Oct. 31, view Satyajit Ray's Charulata (The Broken Nest), based on Tagore's classic Bengali Novel. shown on 10/24.

First paper to be handed in in class, or placed in the designated box outside my office , 129 Ciruti, by 5 p.m. Friday, October 27.

15. Tue Oct. 31. Women writing: The view from nineteenth-century Bengal

Indira Peterson, "Rabindranath Tagore" (biographical sketch). Rabindranath Tagore, The Broken Nest. Translated by Mary Lago and Supriya Sen.

Selection from "Literature of the Reform and Nationalist Movements", Tharu and Lalita, vol. 1. (background for 19th-century literature)

16. Thurs. Nov. 2. Women and the Reform and Nationalist movements

Continue discussing The Broken Nest.

Partha Chatterjee, "The Nationalist Resolution of the Women's Question" , in K.Sangari and .S. Vaid, eds., Recasting Women. See Tharu and Lalita, "Literature of the reform and nationalist movements", Women Writing in India, I.

17. Tue. Nov. 7 Caste, class and patriarchy: Bengali short stories from the 19th and 20th centuries

R. Tagore, "Punishment" , from W.Radice, trans., Rabindranath Tagore; Selected Short Stories.
Indira Peterson, "Mahasweta Devi", biographical sketch.

Mahasweta Devi, "The Funeral Wailer", translated by K. .Bardhan, Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants and Rebels.

18. Thurs. Nov. 9. Women imagine a different world

Tarabai Shinde, "Stri Purush Tulna" (A Comparison of Women and Men) from Tharu and Lalita, eds., Women Writing in India, vol.I. Roushan Jahan, trans, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Sultana's Dream.

*Required Film. By December 5, view Deepa Mehta's film Fire, which depicts a friendship and lesbian relationship between two sisters-in-law. Shown Nov. 14

19. Tue. Nov. 11 Women, Reform and Difference: Pandita Ramabai, A Christian feminist activisit in 19th-century India

"Ramabai Saraswati" , Tharu and Lalita, Women Writing, vol.I, and Uma Chakravarti, "Whatever happened to the Vedic Dasi?", excerpts on Ramabai (from Sangari and Vaid, eds., Recasting Women).

   

20.. Thurs Nov. 16. Sarojini Naidu: Writing poetry, fighting for the Nation

Sarojini Naidu, life-sketch, Women Writing in India, vol.I, Naidu, "Palanquin Bearers and other poems" (1917-43), from The Sceptred Flute. For background on women and the nationalist movement, see Geraldine Forbes, 'Women in Independent India', in Forbes, Women in Modern India, 1996.

21. Tue. Nov. 21. Anita Desai: A woman writer of the '80's

Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day, parts 1 and 2.

Submit by e-mail the topic, outline and references for your second paper proposal by Tuesday, November 21.

Thanksgiving Break, Wed. Nov. 22 - Sun. Nov. 26

22. Tues. Nov. 28. Woman, family and nation: Desai and Naqvi, India and Pakistan

Conclude discussion of Clear Light of Day (parts 3 and 4). Tahira Naqvi, "Love in an Election Year", from T.Naqvi, Attar of Roses and Other Stories from Pakistan, 1997

23. Thurs. Nov. 30. Women as leaders in late-20th-century India.

Rasjeswari Sunder Rajan, ""Gender, Leadership and Representation: The Case of Indira Gandhi", 1995, and Amrita Basu, "Feminism Inverted: The Real Women and Gendered imagery of Hindu Nationalism", BCAS 25.4, 1993.

24. Tue. Dec. 5. Emerging Lesbian voices

Madhu Kishwar, ""Naive Outpourings of a self-hating Indian: Deepa Mehta's Fire, and readers' responses, Manushi, 109, 112. Discussion of Deepa Mehta's Fire. Ismat Chughtai, "The Quilt", Translated by T.Naqvi and S.Hameed, 1994.

25. Thurs. Dec. 7. On being a woman poet in modern India

Eleanor Zelliot, "Stree Dalit Sahitya: The New Voice of Women Poets". From A.Feldhaus, ed., Images of Women in Maharashrtrian Literature and Religion.Poems by Kamala Das (R.Parthasarathy, ed., Ten Twentieth-Century Indian Poets, 1976) Imtiaz Dharker (Eunice De Souza, ed., Nine Indian women poets, 1997 ) and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Poems from Black Candle, 1991

26. Tues. Dec. 12 Concluding Discussion

*Final paper due by 5 p.m. on Monday, December 18.

 

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