ASIAN 435 - Truth Claims in Indian Literature: Nonfiction Accounts of Gendered Discrimination
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
At least one 300-level Asian Studies course or an equivalent literature/culture studies course in another department.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course investigates nonfiction accounts of systemic gender discrimination in colonial and postcolonial India. The focus is on written protests aimed at those within the society, as well as appeals to those without. How can readers reconcile the contentious truths of these narratives? We start with the issue of “sati” that was the basis for Spivak’s essay, Can the Subaltern Speak?, to examine our own expectations of right and wrong in first-person accounts. What moral mandate is invoked in these genres, and where can we see that at work in the writing? We then ask more specifically how religious, class, and caste affiliations of a nonfiction narrator influence our understanding of the events described by looking closely at women’s autobiographical writings during the nationalist movement. With whom do they seek alliance, on what basis, and to what political end? After midterm we examine oral histories told by survivors of Partition-era sexual assault, which complicates the simplistic us/them and true/false binaries often read into nonfiction accounts. In what ways do unifying nationalist narratives undermine or even silence more painful personal narratives? How do we come to terms with our own complex moral investments in their stories? The course ends with examples of Dalit writing in postcolonial India that interrogate set distinctions, not only between us and them, true and false, but also between literary and non-literary works. Thus we may inquire more deliberately into the political deployment (and even marketing) of narratives from the downtrodden, especially when caste-based oppression is claimed to trump gender-based oppression. What is the role of the literary in establishing the value of these nonfiction accounts?

Course Requirements:

Attendance & participation 15%; In-class presentation 10%; Weekly responses on CTools 25%; Midterm Paper 20%; Final Paper 30%. The attached syllabus explains the details for each assignment including page length for papers.

Intended Audience:

This course has been designed for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, especially those specializing in South Asian Studies. While it focuses on literary examples, it aims to be interdisciplinary within the humanities and qualitative social sciences.

Class Format:

The course will meet once per week, with weekly written responses designed to stimulate discussion. The syllabus is divided into 4 units, but the general theoretical issues raised in response are relevant to all. The topics and critical thinking skills are designed to build on one another.

ASIAN 435 - Truth Claims in Indian Literature: Nonfiction Accounts of Gendered Discrimination
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Most of the readings for this course will be on PDF through Canvas. You will need to read two books (both of which should be on reserve.) The pagination on the different editions of Pawar's _Weave of my Life_ shifts, but we will do our best to orient ourselves so get whichever version works for you (including in the Marathi source or the Hindi translation.)
ISBN: 9780231149013
The weave of my life : a Dalit woman's memoirs, Author: Pava?ra, Urmila?,
ISBN: 9780822324577
The other side of silence : voices from the partition of India, Author: Butalia, Urvashi, Publisher: Duke Univ. Press 2003
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

No Syllabi are on file for ASIAN 435. Click the button below to search for a different syllabus (UM login required)

Search for Syllabus
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)