The objective of this course is to acquire an understanding of the diverse manifestations of South Asian culture in history and the present day through the medium of literature. We will explore how South Asian culture is imagined, how cultural traditions develop historically, are appropriated and undergo change over time. We will also investigate how mainstream cultural representations are transmitted, contested and reified not only in literature, but also in theatre and film. A number of encounters (colonial, global, East-West) have concomitantly influenced South Asian cultural expressions in literature and the popular media and it will be one of our goals to analyze such processes.

The course materials are drawn from fiction, film and autobiography. We will read the literary sources from various South Asian vernaculars in English translation against the background of secondary sources thematizing analytical concepts such as gender, identity, nationalism, cultural memory and representation.


Course structure, requirements and Grade Components

The class meets once a week for three hours. The sessions will introduce students to South Asian writers, different literary genres (drama, short story, novel), mainstream and art movies of South Asian filmmakers, Internet representations of South Asian and diaspora communities as well as cultural and literary theories developed in South Asian Studies. There will be the option to participate in a guided walking tour through Toronto’s India Bazar on Gerrard Street. The final grade will be calculated as outlined and described in the following:.

Attendance and Participation      20% (10% each term)

2 group presentations                10 % (5% each term)

Midterm                                       10% (Fall Term)

2 Tests                                        20% (10% each term)

4 Journal entries (2.5% each)     10% (Fall Term)

4 Journal entries (2.5% each)     10% (Winter Term)

Essay (research paper)               20% (Winter Term)