India is both an ancient civilization and a modern nation. Home to over a billion people, 23 officially recognized languages, and all major world religions, India encompasses incredible diversity and cultural wealth. This course proposes to examine the major components of Indian culture and society, especially as they engage with the forces of modernity. This course will focus on four principal sites of culture and modernity in India today: nation, religion, gender, and caste. Using a variety of primary and secondary sources, such as films, memoirs, newspaper and TV reports, and journalistic accounts, alongside scholarly literature, the course will trace India’s transformation into a modern nation and society over the past century.
The course will deploy an interdisciplinary methodology, drawing upon scholarship from a variety of disciplines such as History, Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, to inculcate a nuanced understanding of Indian culture and society. It will also introduce students to modern and contemporary forms of cultural expression in India, including newspapers, journals, fiction-writing, cinema, television, popular art, the concert space, and quasi-academic blogs. The course will help students:
- attain a nuanced understanding of what is meant by ‘Indian Culture’
- increase awareness of cultural transformations through history
- explore contemporary forms and uses of cultural identity in Indian society
- engage with a variety of means of cultural expression in and about India today, including popular media, cinema, television, newspapers, magazines, public debates, and fiction
Students will be evaluated on the following:
- 3 in-class Quizzes (15%);
- Regular Attendance and Participation (15%);
- selected Reading Responses (15%);
- 2 Short Papers (15% each);
- a Final Project (10%);
- a Final Paper (15%).