REL 246 Fall 2013 India's Identities: Religion, Caste, and Gender (D) (W)

Cross Listed as ANTH246, ASST246, WGSS246
India is a nation based on difference whose multiple and fragmenting identities are often framed as unified oppositions: Hindu/Muslim, Rich/Poor, Secular/Religious, Male/Female. This course will deconstruct the media's popular representations of these and other identities in order to complicate the notion of a diverse Indian nation. It will highlight the range of identities and social practices among India's booming population that have produced critical axes of differentiation such as gender, caste, ethnicity, and religious sect. It begins by considering how the colonial principle of 'divide and rule' provides an object lesson in the ways that difference can be used to sustain both social hierarchy and political rule. It describes how this logic of difference produced the tragedy of Partition and its legacy for the operation of gender and religion on the subcontinent. We critically examine the class and religious divisions that led to the birth of three nations--India, Pakistan, and subsequently Bangladesh--and the particular logic of communalism and religious violence in modern India. Throughout, the course attends to the subjective experience of being Hindu, Muslim, or Sikh, untouchable or upper caste, as well as male or female as a way of understanding the way that difference shapes individual agency and lives across India. It seeks to empathize or at least understand the perspective of both victims and perpetrators of communal and gendered forms of violence in India today. This course fulfills the Exploring Diversity Initiative by theorizing the ways in which difference has been used to effect profound historical, social, and individual changes in the Indian subcontinent.
Class Format: tutorial
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly writing assignments and a final paper with prior drafts
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: preference given to majors in Religion, Anthropology, Asian Studies and WGSS
Department Notes:
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: REL South Asian Traditions Courses, WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 1652
REL246-T1(F) TUT India's Identities (D) (W) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity InitiativeWriting Intensive Kim Gutschow
TBA 1652
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