Program in South Asian Studies

Faculty

  • Director

    • Jonathan C. Gold
  • Acting Director

    • Gyan Prakash
  • Executive Committee

    • Zahid R. Chaudhary
    • Divya Cherian, History
    • Benjamin Conisbee Baer
    • Jonathan C. Gold
    • Atul Kohli
    • Gyan Prakash
    • Muhammad Q. Zaman
  • Sits with Committee

    • Ellen Ambrosone
    • Fauzia Farooqui
    • Sadaf Jaffer
    • David S. Magier
    • Karen McGuinness
    • Zia Mian
    • Robert L. Phillips
    • Nataliya Yanchevskaya

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 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 Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs may find that their studies mesh particularly well with the requirements of the program. Concentrators in the Woodrow Wilson School 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 Woodrow Wilson 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
) Fall 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 305 Topics in Hindi/Urdu (also
URD 305
) Fall 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: Staff

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: Staff

SAS 281 Buddhist Philosophy (See REL 281)

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

SAS 303 Gender, Sexuality, and Feminisms in South Asia (also
GSS 412
) Fall SA

This course surveys ideas regarding gender and sexuality at various points in the cultural history of South Asia and how these ideas have shaped women's and men's lives and experiences in the society. We examine how different communities pushed against gender norms and cultural expectations using different ideologies and strategies resulting in a diverse range of feminist projects in South Asia. The course explores ideas about gender, sexuality, and feminism in various domains of South Asian life. Apart from reading scholarship on relevant topics, we analyze primary textual sources, such as religious texts, literary genres, and folklore. Instructed by: F. Farooqui

SAS 307 Mandalas: Theory and Application in Tibetan Buddhism (See REL 307)

SAS 308 Hindu Ethical and Political Thought (See REL 308)

SAS 312 Indian Democracy in Motion (See GLS 330)

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 332 Mythology of Classical India Fall LA

The course explores major myths and narratives of Hindu India. Through mythology and visual art we will look at Indian culture at different historical stages, and at every stage we will observe how the insiders built their relationship with the world, how they understood their place in it, their moral and religious duties, and the right organization of society. We will consider connections between myths and religious practices, social structures, historical events, and psychological and aesthetic dimensions of Indian cultural life. Reading of mythic narratives will be accompanied by analysis from selected theoretical perspectives. Instructed by: N. Yanchevskaya

SAS 340 Popular Trends in South Asian Literature (also
COM 322
) Fall LA

This course introduces students to the richness and diversity of South Asian literature produced in vernacular languages and in English. Texts represent major themes and popular trends in the 20th and 21st century; and we discuss them in historical and literary contexts. Topics include cultural renaissance and nationalism; progressive- Marxist literary movement; modernist and experimental literature; feminist, dalit (oppressed castes), and diaspora literature; and various postmodern and contemporary literary trends. Instructed by: F. Farooqui

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

URD 105 Intermediate Urdu I

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

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