Asian Studies 211 -modern Indian Fiction



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Asian Studies 211 -Modern Indian Fiction

Indira V. Peterson Office:129 Ciruti Center (Main floor)

Asian Studies Program Tel. 538-2376 (voice mail).

Fall semester 2001 Dept. office x 2885.

Mount Holyoke College E-mail: ipeterso@mtholyoke.edu Tues / Thurs 11 a.m. 12.15 p.m. .

Requirements and Other information



Requirements: Regular attendance, reading, participation in class discussion, two take home essay questions, to be answered in essays 9 -12 pages in length. The questions will be given out well before they are due, and the essays will be due on: Monday, October 22, (5 p.m. ) and Thursday, Dec. 13, 5 p.m. I will leave a box marked "Asian 211 'Modern Indian fiction' outside my office door, 129 Ciruti, for you to deposit your papers.

As elements of class participation, in addition to contributing informally to discussion, each of you is asked 1) to regularly contribute one or more clearly formulated questions that you would like class discussion to focus on (These questions need not be brought to class in written form, but writing them down might help keep them brief and clear); and 2) to initiate at least one class discussion with a brief written statement about the reading for the class (you may contact me by e-mail to selecta class and text for which you would like to initiate the discussion).


Absence and late submission policy: For the take-home essays, the grade for an essay submitted upto four days later than the deadline will be lowered by half a grade point (i.e., A will become A-). Essays submitted later than the fourth day after the deadline will NOT be graded. More than three unexplained absences (not explained by medical reasons or other emergencies, and reported to me promptly) will result in the lowering of your course grade by half a grade point.
Reading assignments indicated under each class date should be completed in preparation FOR that class. i.e., you should come to class having read the reading indicated under a particular date for a particular class meeting. (There is, of course, no assigned reading for the first class meeting).

Material required for purchase:

The following novels (paperback) are required for purchase, and are available at the Odyssey Bookstore at the Commons: Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children, Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day, Amitav Ghosh, The Shadow Lines, B. Sidhwa, Cracking India, Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things, and Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy.

In addition to the above novels, we will read R.K.Narayan's novel The Vendor of Sweets. I will distribute photocopies of which is now out of print. The remaining readings (short stories, ntroductions to authors, and criticism) will be from a photocopied course packet, which will be available for purchase after Monday, September 10 at the Asian Studies Department Office, 112 Ciruti, Monday -Friday 9 -3. Please write your name, e-mail and student account number on the list provided at the office before you pick up the packet. Your account will be charged for the purchase (but this will not happen immediately). I will announce the cost of the course packet (inclusive of The Vendor of Sweets and the introductory readings) in class, once the cost has been calculated.

If Asian Studies Dept. Senior Administrative Assistant Tracie Alfano-Aube (dept. tel. 538-2885, e-mail: talfaube) or student assistants Sara Hua (hshua) and Shantoba Carew (secarew) are not in the office, try the Russian Dept next door (Tracie works there as well), and avoid the lunch hour.


Introductory material

Introductory material for the course and the assigned reading for the classes on 9/11 and 9/13 will be handed out during the first class.


List of photocopied material given out at first class meeting, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2001

1. Syllabus

2. Course requirements and list of films

3. Maps of India and excerpts from Joseph Elder, Lectures in Indian Civilization, Dubuque, 1970.

4. Indira Viswanathan Peterson, Indian Literature, Literature in the languages of the Indian subcontinent. Article in Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001.

5. Chronological Table for Indian history from W.T. De Bary, ed., Sources of Indian Tradition, volumes 1 and 2, Columbia University Press, 1963.

6. Indira Viswanathan Peterson, "Rabindranath Tagore" Headnote for the Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, 1995 , vol. 2.

7. Rabindranath Tagore, The Broken Nest (Bengali novella) . Translated by Mary Lago and Supriya Sen

8. Rabindranath Tagore, Introduction and 2 Bengali short stories from William Radice, trans., Rabindranath Tagore: Selected Short Stories (Penguin, 1991): "The Postmaster", and "Kabuliwallah".

9. Bibliography.


Reserve List at Williston Library

A number of books and articles have been put on reserve at the Reserve Desk at Williston Library. These are mainly designed to help you with your take-home essays, and in general to help you explore particular authors, works and issues in greater detail. You may access the reserve list for this course via e-mail or on the web -- go to "library", then to "reserve", select "reserve lists", and retrieve the list either by my name (Peterson, Indira) or by the course number (Asian Studies 211).


South Asian Film Series for "Modern Indian Fiction"

The following 7 videotapes of feature films have been put on reserve for Asian Studies 211, Modern Indian Fiction: Satyajit Ray's Charulata, Ray's Two Daughters, the documentary Dadi's Family, Merchant-Ivory's In Custody, Deepa Mehta's Earth, Mira Nair's Mississipi Masala, Meera Syal's Bhaji on the Beach . They will also be shown on the big screen as a series on several Thursday evenings (7.30 p.m.) at Skinner 216 (See list of films and show dates). Please feel free to bring friends to see these fine films, several of which are related to the works of fiction we will read in this course. The films are not required viewing, but they are highly recommended (please be aware that Media services will remove the video from circulation several days prior to and after the date on which it is to be shown).

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