ASST 415
Gods and Kings: Historical Narratives from India Spring 2016 Division II; Writing-Intensive; Cross-listed as COMP415 / ASST415 / HIST415
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India’s long history with earliest written records going back to 2000 B.C presents multiple challenges that are unique among the ancient civilizations. The critical challenge is conceptual: how do we recognize the historical sense of societies whose past is recorded in ways that are different from European conventions? British rulers claimed that India had no sense of history before the colonial period. And this view has persisted despite recent scholarship that has undermined the factual and conceptual basis of this theory. The purpose of this course is two fold: first, to discuss the analytical methods one could apply to understand the ‘history’ contained in the diverse body of classical Indian literature; second, to study a representative set of primary sources that belong to the distinct historical traditions of India. Students will learn to apply these methods to gain new insights and debate the limitations of the approach. The course will begin with an exploration of the epic tradition and continue with in-depth readings of narratives from other important genres including popular bardic accounts, royal biographies and court dramas ranging from c. 1000 BCE to 1500 CE.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 10-15
Class#: 3701
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, several short papers and a substantial final paper based on primary sources
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: some experience with HIST courses preferred
Enrollment Preference: History majors; Comp lit majors; Asian Studies Majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive;
Distribution Notes: meets division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP; meets division 2 requirement if registration is under HIST or ASST
Attributes: GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives; HIST Group B Electives - Asia; HIST Group P Electives - Premodern;

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