REL 248 Spring 2015 Body Politics in South Asia: Gender, Sex, Religion, and Nation (D)

Cross Listed as ASST248, ANTH248, INST248, WGSS249
This course examines the relationship between body, gender, sex, and society in South Asia, using three countries and religions---India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam---as its foil. The course uses the body as a lens by which to unpack South Asian discourses that link body and sexuality with nation, community, and population. In particular, it explores a South Asian sociology that links individual and social bodies in ways that occasion solidarity as well as social suffering, violence as well as communal cohesion. How do bodies come to signify the purity or prosperity of the nation or community and with what social or discursive effects? We begin by unpacking foundational theories of the body as proposed by Mauss, Foucault, Douglas, and Bourdieu in order to better understand how local discourses of the body help produce gender and other social hierarchies in South Asia. By considering how the human body can serve as a map for society and vice versa, we examine both classical discourses and modern institutional practices of the body including the temple, the monastery, the mosque, and the mendicant, as well as bodily practices such as yoga, celibacy, sex work, and new reproductive technologies. We also analyze how the body has served as a symbol of nation, community, and social health. Throughout, we are interested in the cross-cutting effects of gender and sex in perpetuating structural hierarchies and social suffering around the body in South Asia.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class presentations, class blog, final paper, attendance & participation in class discussions
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: majors in Religion, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Asian Studies and Anthropology/Sociology
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: INST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives,PHLH Bioethics + Interpretations of Health,PHLH Maternal and Child Health,WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 3753
REL 248 - 01 (S) SEM Body Politics in South Asia (D) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity Initiative Kim Gutschow
W 1:10 PM-3:50 PM Hollander 140 3753
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