REL 246
India's Identities: Reproducing the Nation,Community and Individual Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed ASST 246 / ANTH 246 / WGSS 246 / REL 246

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This course considers India’s contradictory legacy as a booming Asian democracy and fragile society built upon deep and enduring divisions. Why is India’s growing population so often described in terms of multiple identities or fragmenting oppositions — Hindu/Muslim, rich/poor, high caste/outcaste, male/female? What are the historic roots and ongoing causes that produce structural violence around these axes of difference? We pay particular attention to key moments (Partition, communal riots in Gujarat in 2003, Hyderabad in 1990, Delhi in 1984), and places (Punjab, Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir) for our analysis of how religion, gender, and caste intersect to produce a landscape of communal violence, social hierarchy, and fragmented subjectivity in India today. We are as interested in discourses and practices that shore up these binaries as well as the third terms that attempt to transcend or diffuse them. For instance, we look at how Buddhism is and is not a middle path between Hindu/Muslim conflict in Indian Kashmir. Our course readings include ethnographic, sociological, and historical analyses, as well as oral histories and popular media.
The Class: Type: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 4034
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly writing assignments and tutorial attendance every week
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: majors in Anthropology and Sociology, Religion, Asian Studies, or Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASST 246 Division II ANTH 246 Division II WGSS 246 Division II REL 246 Division II
Attributes: GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives
PHLH Bioethics + Interpretations of Health
WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses

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