Program in South Asian Studies

Faculty

Director

  • Benjamin Conisbee Baer

Executive Committee

  • Zahid R. Chaudhary, English
  • Divya Cherian, History
  • Benjamin Conisbee Baer, Comparative Literature
  • Jonathan C. Gold, Religion
  • Atul Kohli, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
  • Gyan Prakash, History
  • Muhammad Q. Zaman, Near Eastern Studies

Sits with Committee

  • Ellen Ambrosone
  • Fauzia Farooqui
  • Sadaf Jaffer
  • David S. Magier
  • Karen L. McGuinness
  • Zia Mian
  • Robert L. Phillips
  • Nataliya Yanchevskaya
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

The Program in South Asian Studies, under the auspices of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, offers students the methodological and theoretical tools to study the political, economic, social, religious, literary, and cultural institutions of the region with particular focus on the modern history of India and Pakistan.

Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit. The Program in South Asian Studies offers a four-term sequence of language instruction in Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit. Completion of all four terms of a language will satisfy the University language requirement. All language instruction is offered with an emphasis on gaining knowledge of the cultural context of South Asia, with Hindi and Urdu instruction focusing on speaking, reading, and writing, and Sanskrit instruction focusing on reading and interpreting a variety of traditional literary genres. The program encourages students to take advantage of intensive summer language programs and of the numerous opportunities to study or travel in South Asia, including a semester or year abroad. For more information, contact the Office of International Programs.

Admission to the Program

Students concentrating in any department may enter the certificate program with permission from the program director. A student normally enters the program at the end of the sophomore year, although entrance in the fall of the junior year is not precluded. Students in the departments of anthropology, history, politics, religion, sociology, comparative literature, or the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs may find that their studies mesh particularly well with the requirements of the program. Concentrators in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs will select South Asia as a field of concentration.

Program of Study

To obtain a certificate of proficiency, students must complete the normal requirements in their department of concentration as well as the following requirements of the program:

  1. Four semesters of Hindi, Urdu, or Sanskrit, or demonstrated proficiency in one of these or another South Asian language through a program examination. See the program director to discuss using a language other than Hindi, Urdu or Sanskrit to fulfill the program's language requirement.
  2. At least four courses on South Asia in any of the following departments: anthropology, comparative literature, cconomics, history, Near Eastern studies, politics, religion, the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, or the Program in South Asian Studies. Please note: No more than two courses in any one department may be used to count toward the certificate of proficiency, and only one course of the four may be taken as P/D/F.  Advanced Hindi and Urdu courses (HIN-URD 300-level or higher) will count in the SAS course designation category.
  3. A senior thesis written in the student's department of concentration with a significant South Asian component. If there is no possibility for South Asian content in the senior thesis, students must write a separate piece of independent work focusing on South Asia; please consult with the program director.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who complete the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receive a certificate of proficiency in South Asian studies upon graduation.

Courses

HIN 101 Elementary Hindi and Urdu I (also
URD 101
) Fall

This proficiency-based course in Hindi-Urdu allows students to acquire linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Equal emphasis is placed on Hindi and Urdu, including writing systems, vocabulary, and culture. The course will focus on using language for genuine communication through a variety of activities. By the end of the course, students will be able to read and write both Hindi and Urdu scripts and communicate in a culturally appropriate manner. All classes will be interactive. No credit is given for HIN 101/URD 101 unless followed by HIN 102/URD 102. Instructed by: F. Farooqui

HIN 102 Elementary Hindi and Urdu II (also
URD 102
) Spring

This course provides the second semester of training in Hindi and Urdu, allowing students to acquire linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Equal emphasis is placed on both Hindi and Urdu, including writing systems, vocabulary, and culture. Course will focus on using language for genuine communication. Students will be able to read and write both Hindi and Urdu scripts, communicate in social situations, and narrate in all three time frames: past, present and future. Classes are interactive. Instructed by: F. Farooqui

HIN 105 Intermediate Hindi I Fall

Building on HIN 102, this course will focus on expanding Hindi vocabulary, mastering more complex grammatical structures and acquiring idiomatic expressions. There will be an equal emphasis on all skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Aspects of the target language culture will be integrated with instruction. Activities will be conducted in Hindi and classes will be interactive. Instructed by: R. Phillips

HIN 107 Intermediate Hindi II Spring

Continuing from HIN 105, the course refines and expands previously acquired linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Focus on expanding vocabulary, mastering complex grammatical structures and idiomatic expressions. Use of authentic Hindi materials from print and electronic media, films, and folk literature. Equal emphasis on all skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Activities are conducted in Hindi and classes are interactive. Instructed by: R. Phillips

HIN 303 Topics in Hindi/Urdu (also
URD 303
/
COM 395
) LA

Reading and viewing of select Hindi/Urdu literary works and their cinematic adaptations, covering a wide-range of registers, genres and styles: drama, short story, novel (excerpts), as well as commercial and alternative cinema. Attention will be given to historical and social context, as well as different styles and trends. Stories and films will address issues of discrimination, inequity, and reform, representations of gender, social and cultural norms and conventions, stereotypes, taboos, and transgressions. In-depth classroom discussion in Hindi/Urdu of all materials. Instructed by: R. Phillips

HIN 304 Topics in Hindi-Urdu (also
URD 304
/
COM 378
/
TRA 302
) Fall LA

The course will focus on topics and issues related to literary translation, from Urdu into Hindi, Hindi into Urdu, as well as the translation of Hindi/Urdu literary works into English and from English into Hindi/Urdu. Readings will address issues of theory and practice, as well as selected literary works and their translations. Includes student translation workshops. Instructed by: R. Phillips

HIN 305 Topics in Hindi/Urdu (also
URD 305
) Not offered this year LA

In the more than seventy years since India and Pakistan became independent countries, a vast amount of literature has been produced in Hindi/Urdu. We will read selected literary materials including fiction, poetry, and essays while also focusing on historical and literary contexts. Materials will represent a range of genres, topics, and trends. Literary texts will be supplemented with additional materials including film and documentary selections, music, and author interviews, etc. Literary sessions and workshops will be organized in connection with the course. Instructed by: F. Farooqui

SAN 101 Elementary Sanskrit I Fall

An introduction to classical Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary, as well as Devanagari script, pronunciation, and phonological change (sandhi). Students will begin to read simple Sanskrit prose and verse. No credit is given for SAN 101 unless followed by SAN 102. Instructed by: N. Yanchevskaya

SAN 105 Intermediate Sanskrit I Fall

Strengthens classical Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary and builds knowledge of South Asian religion and culture through reading selections from Sanskrit Epids and Puranas. Instructed by: N. Yanchevskaya

SAN 300 Advanced Sanskrit: Vedic Language, Grammar, and Literature (also
TRA 300
) Spring LA

This course builds upon the foundation in Classical Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary established during first and second year Sanskrit, and builds knowledge of Vedic grammar, language, and style through reading selections from the Vedic texts in poetry and prose. The course is primarily a reading course, focusing on passages from the Rigveda, Atharvaveda, early Brahmanas, and Upanishads. This course provides students a comprehensive introduction to the Vedic literature and language. Instructed by: N. Yanchevskaya

SAS 216 Philosophical Debates between Buddhists and Jains (See REL 216)

SAS 281 Buddhist Philosophy (See REL 281)

SAS 302 Nature and Infrastructure in South Asia (See ARC 301)

SAS 309 Hinduism: Visions and Ideas (also
REL 300
) Fall LA

Through texts, visual art, observation of ritual practices we will take a close look at Hinduism. We will explore its major ideas, myths, rituals, narratives, its predecessors and opponents at different historical stages. At every stage we will observe how the insiders understood their relationship with the world, their moral and religious duties, and the right organization of society. We will discuss social, philosophical, and ideological tensions within Hinduism and its dialog with outsiders. We will explore the Indus Valley civilization, the Vedas, early and classical Hinduism, and different systems of Hindu philosophy. Instructed by: N. Yanchevskaya

SAS 312 Indian Democracy in Motion (See GLS 330)

SAS 317 The Making of Modern India and Pakistan (See HIS 317)

SAS 328 South Asian American Literature and Film (also
COM 352
/
ASA 328
) Spring LA

This course examines literature and film by South Asians in North America. Students will gain perspective on the experiences of immigration and diaspora through the themes of identity, memory, solidarity, and resistance. From early Sikh migration to the American West Coast, to Muslim identity in a post 9/11 world, how can South Asian American stories be read as symbolic of the American experience of gender, class, religion, and ethnicity more broadly? Students will hone their skills in reading primary materials, analyzing them within context, writing persuasively, and speaking clearly. Instructed by: S. Jaffer

SAS 329 Buddhism and Politics (See REL 329)

SAS 335 Gender and Performing Arts in South Asia (also
GSS 335
) Fall SA

How has the nexus of gender, the performing arts, and aesthetics been theorized, constructed, and experienced at different times and in different places in South Asian societies? What roles have courtesans and courtesan cultures played in artistic and performance traditions in South Asia? In exploring these and related questions we will draw from music, dance, film, literature, and ethnographic and historical sources as we consider the complexities of social and cultural discourses in relation to the performing arts. Instructed by: R. Phillips

SAS 345 Islam in South Asia through Literature and Film (also
REL 345
) Fall LA

This course is a survey of Islam in the Indian subcontinent. We begin with the earliest Muslim descriptions of India and the rise of Persian poetry to understand how Muslims negotiated life at the frontiers of the Islamic world. Next we trace patterns of patronage and production at the Mughal court and the development of Urdu as a vehicle of literary composition including a discussion of the Progressive Writer's Movement and the "Muslim Social" genre of Hindi cinema. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary fusion music and youth culture in Pakistan. Students will gain an informed perspective on Islam beyond the headlines. Instructed by: S. Jaffer

SAS 377 Sustainable Cities in the US and India: Technology & Policy Pathways (See ENV 377)

SAS 396 Comparing the Urban in the Americas and South Asia (See ARC 396)

SAS 410 Modern India: History and Political Theory (See HIS 420)

SAS 422 Hindu, Muslim, Untouchable: Society and Politics in Pre-Modern South Asia, c. 1100-1800 (See HIS 422)

SAS 436 Working Class Lives on the Indian Subcontinent (See HIS 436)

URD 105 Intermediate Urdu I Fall

The course is a continuation of HIN-URD 102, concentrating on Urdu. Students beginning with intermediate proficiency in either Urdu or Hindi will be brought to an advanced level in Urdu in all four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Urdu script will be introduced and emphasis will be placed on strengthening literacy skills. Cultural aspects will be integrated with instruction. Activities will be conducted in Urdu and classes will be interactive. Instructed by: F. Farooqui

URD 107 Intermediate Urdu II Spring

This continuing proficiency-based course refines and expands previously acquired linguistic skills in culturally authentic contexts. Focus is on expanding vocabulary, mastering more complex grammatical structures, and acquiring idiomatic expressions. Use of authentic Urdu materials from print and electronic media, literature, and films. Equal emphasis on all skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Various aspects of the target language culture will be integrated with instruction. Activities will be conducted in Urdu and classes will be interactive. Instructed by: F. Farooqui