Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Course Description and Goals
This course is designed to introduce and help students understand the changes and continuities in the lives of women in South Asia from a historical perspective. Using gender as a lens of examining the past, we will examine how politics of race, class, caste and religion affected and continue to impact women in South Asian countries, primarily in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We will reflect upon current debates within South Asian women's history in order to examine some of the issues and problems that arise in re-writing the past from a gendered perspective.
The chronological focus of this course is on the condition of women in the subcontinent from the 1800s till the present day. Students are required to have some knowledge about South Asia. However it is not a necessary pre-requisite and I will suggest some basic texts to provide those with no previous courses on South Asia. To help us evaluate the different historical and temporal experiences of South Asian women, this course will extensively use primary documents, secondary readings, films, and contemporary newspaper and Internet articles. Students will be required to actively engage and participate in class discussions and group debates, which will form a substantial part of individual evaluations.
Course Requirements and Grading
|Two short essays (20% each)||40%|
|Research paper and presentation||30%|
Please see assignments for more detailed descriptions of the above.
Class Participation and Preparation
Attendance in class is mandatory. Only legitimate excuses supported by evidence will be entertained.
The two classes per week will involve lectures and scheduled and unscheduled discussions and debates. You are required to read the assigned pages of the textbook and the primary and secondary readings before you come to class. Students are required to participate in discussions. There are no wrong answers as long as you support your dialogue with evidence from your readings or general knowledge on the topic.
Late Submission Policy
Students are required to submit papers on time. Late submission will result in lowering of grades. This will be calculated in the following way:
- One-day late means 1 grade lower. E.g. An A- paper will become a B+ paper.
- Two days late means 2 grades lower. E.g. An A- paper becomes a B paper.
- A paper, which is four or more days late, will be given an instant F.
Students should familiarize themselves with the Student Code of the University and its sections on academic dishonesty, especially on plagiarism. Plagiarism, which is the unacknowledged use of the ideas or works of another on a paper, will result in an F grade for the paper. Cheating on an examination will result in an F grade for the course and the notification of the Dean of the student's college.
|SES #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|1. Introduction: Studying women in cross cultural perspective|
|1||Writing South Asian women's history|
|2||India: The historical and social context|
|2. Prescriptive literature and gendered roles|
|4||Women as mothers, daughters, and daughters in law|
|5||Wives, courtesans and concubines||Sign up for individual meetings|
|6||Divinities and devotees|
|3. Defining Indian women in the 19th century|
|7||Defining women: Social reforms|
|8||Comparison between men and women in the 19th century|| |
Class discussion on Comparison Between Men and Women
Individual meetings to report on research progress due one day after Ses #8
|9||Reforms in education and religion||Critical essay on Comparison Between Men and Women due|
|10||Gender and law in colonial India|
|4. Becoming "mothers" of the nation|
|11||The good wife and mother|
|12||Inside out: Andarmahal, harem and political participation|
|13||Women's work and working women|
|5. Empowering women: Gandhi, birth control and the franchise|
|14||Gandhi and women|
|15||Birth control and public health|
|16||Organizations and activism in colonial India||Individual meetings to report on research progress due two days after Ses #16|
|6. Identities and social realities in post-1947 South Asia|
|17||Partitioned nations, partitioned bodies||Class discussion on The River Churning|
|18||Campaigns against dowry, rape and sati|
|19||Personal law vs. uniform civil code||Critical essay on The River Churning due|
|7. Women and their nations|
|20||Era of women leader|
|21||Dangerous liaisons: Religious fundamentalisms||Internet assignment due|
|22||Iconic representations: Sexuality and gender in popular culture|
|8. Tracking progress: South Asian women in the 21st century|
|24||Contemporary debates on feminism|
|25||Globalization and South Asian women|
|26||Conclusions||Final research paper due one day after Ses #26|